Andrew - I am sure the residents of West Orange will appreciate your opinion (not)...... not to mention that agents shouldn't put a personal spin (not very professional or ethical) on what they deem to be "good" or "better" towns!
Melly - all 3 towns you mentioned are good possibilities - your price range and expectations and style preferences may help determine which is the best fit for you.
You should be able to buy more house in West Orange, although the taxes may also be a bit higher - your $12,000 tax budget should work, and $350,000 - 400,000 will give you most of the itme on your wish list in W. Orange.
The price point in Montclair and Livingston may be a bit higher, but taxes (in Livingston) will be lower.
So...what do I suggest?
I suggest you take a look in all 3 communities so you can compare and contrast what your price will allow and "looks like".
Once you get a feel for all 3 towns........(you might even wind up including a few additional nearby towns - the Caldwells, Roseland, for example) you will be able to assess which is the town you want to settle in
All the best - please feel free to visit my website where I have a number of links to town information that you may find useful.
Let me know if I can be of help!
Prudential NJ Properties