Without relief, property owners hit hard by illness or income loss will have to cover payments due May 1 or incur penalties
By JOHN REITMEYER , NJSpotlight
To ease the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey homeowners have been granted mortgage relief from banks and a reprieve from evictions. But no such help has been approved thus far from local property tax bills.
That means many homeowners who are dealing with economic hardships caused by severe illness, the loss of a job or a shuttered business are also being forced to cover quarterly property tax payments by a state-imposed May 1 deadline.
Potentially making matters worse for thousands of New Jersey homeowners is the state’s recent freezing of all funding for the next installment of Homestead property-tax relief benefits. They were supposed to be paid out by the state as direct credits to effectively reduce those May quarterly bills, but Trenton is facing its own economic shortfalls.
Marlboro Township Township’s governing body introduced their 2019 Municipal Budget with a plan to reduce property taxes, Mayor Jonathan Hornik announced. Scheduled for passaged at the April 11 Council meeting, the budget as proposed will lower the municipal portion Marlboro property taxpayers annual bill. For average household valued at an estimated $494,605, the cost for all municipal services such as police, parks, public works, and road improvements will be $1,867.
“The challenge of managing the extreme weather conditions of the last several years continues to drive the Township’s cost of operations. Our budgets have had to absorb the increased costs of snow removal, in particular, which has increased more than 300% since 2007,” said Mayor Jonathan Hornik. “We also continue to grapple with State mandates including an 11% increase in our New Jersey Pension System contribution. Despite these pressures, we continue to deliver and expand the services our residents expect while remaining $1.95 million below the State levy cap and $1.24 million below the State spending cap.” Read the rest of this entry »
Freeholder Director Tom Arnone speaks at the NJTPA Board Meeting – Jan 22, 2018
I hope everyone is doing well! Despite the Groundhog’s prediction, we are only a few weeks away from the start of spring and warmer weather.
I would like to briefly discuss the budget my colleagues and I on the Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced during our meeting on February 8th.
As it currently stands, County taxes would increase by only 1 percent. However, I cannot stress enough that this budget is still a working draft with the opportunity, rather the goal, to make additional cuts to keep the tax levy as flat as possible. If the budget stayed the same and was adopted as-is, this would be the first slight tax increase in seven years while continuing to keep the great services and infrastructure improvements throughout the County.
Counties and municipalities will feel a budget crunch if the state Legislature doesn’t renew a 2 percent cap on the salaries police and firefighters can win through arbitration, a Wall Street Rating agency warned Wednesday. Echoing local government officials who’ve warned of impending tax hikes and spending cuts if the cap expires Dec. 31, Fitch Ratings… Read the rest of this entry »
Declan O’Scanlon, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer and the Senator-elect from the 13th Legislative District, today urged Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to allow the New Jersey General Assembly to vote on permanently extending the interest arbitration cap for public worker salaries.
TRENTON, N.J. – A month after releasing his report of the Arbitration Award Task Force that recommends permanently extending the cap, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) proposed a comprehensive plan to ensure the policies continue to keep property taxes from rapidly increasing. He released the following statement:
“If we’re going to be honest, as effective policy makers it’s incumbent upon us to do the hard work, master the facts and policy nuances before us, and present cogent proposals to the public and the legislature. This list of policy proposals is me doing my job.
“The inescapable logic of permanently tying the arbitration award cap to the property tax cap isn’t hard to grasp. It is fourth-grade math. Any candidate or legislator who claims he needs ‘more information’ or that ‘all the facts aren’t in’ is feigning, in most cases, stupidity to avoid responsibility. Parents try to teach their children to reject such self-demoralizing choices. Read the rest of this entry »
Monmouth County residents: I received this letter in the mail today from Vin Gopal. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but a letter like this shows such a gross and shocking misunderstanding of how property taxes work, that I fear what damage he might do to all of us, should he win.
I handle property tax appeals as part of my law practice. Here is how it works, basically: the property you own is given an assessed value by the local tax assessor or by a revaluation company. In most counties, that assessment will remain the same year after year, until the town decides to perform a revaluation or a reassessment.
Whether your assessed value is $100,000 or $1,000,000, either way, your town needs a certain number of dollars in the kitty each year in order to operate. Take the amount of money the town needs divided by their total assessments, and the quotient is called the “general tax rate.” The property tax dollars you pay is the product of your assessed value times the general tax rate. Read the rest of this entry »
TRENTON, N.J. – Calling the arbitration award cap one of the most important reforms implemented to control property taxes, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said today that if the cap isn’t permanently extended taxpayers will face tax increases, draconian cuts to municipal services or both. O’Scanlon was a prime sponsor of the original cap law and vocal advocate of the extension. He was the only legislator appointed by the governor to sit on the Interest Arbitration Task Force.
“There’s no question that the cap has been successful and is an essential tool for municipalities to keep expenses and property taxes contained,” said O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth). “Every report we’ve done to date has been absolutely consistent and shows the arbitration and tax cap are working together as intended. You can’t keep the tax cap in place without the arbitration cap. You would create a mathematically untenable situation. And it isn’t just police and fire salary costs that are affected, there is a ripple effect throughout all salary expenses.” Read the rest of this entry »
Vin Gopal and the Easter Bunny photo via @gopalforsenate
Democratic state Senate candidate Vin Gopal, in his Aug. 20 oped “Consolidate small towns,” extolled the virtues of municipal consolidation as if he were presenting a new, fresh approach to the concept. An honest reading of his own words destroys both his credibility on the property tax issue, and his paralyzing duplicity as a candidate.
Let’s concede up front that in order to solve our high property tax problem we will need consolidation and sharing of services. But that’s a very small piece of the essential reform pie.
Gopal, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Republican state Sen. Jennifer Beck in the 11th District, tries to suggest that because those of us — like Beck and me — fighting the fight to reduce property taxes haven’t yet declared victory, he might be able to do a better job. But in his own words he actually says he would make things worse — actually make it harder to consolidate or enact reforms that will reduce property taxes. Read the rest of this entry »