Township extends grace period for property taxes

Gov. Murphy allows for lengthening of time to June 1

Gloucester Township Council held an emergency meeting May 4 and unanimously passed a resolution extending the grace period for payment of property taxes through the end of the day June 1.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced through an executive order during the last week in April that municipalities would be permitted to extend the grace period for second-quarter property tax payments, a move he hopes can provide “relief to homeowners struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Taxes are now due by June 1, and no interest or fees can be accrued before that date. If property taxes are not paid by June 1, interest and fees can be applied from the original May 1 deadline.

The township is unable to extend the grace period farther on its own, according to Business Administrator Tom Cardis, as Murphy is in control of such mandates. The executive order allowed municipalities to determine on their own if they would like to extend the deadline to the new date.

During a prior meeting last month, council passed a resolution allowing for the township to borrow an undetermined amount of money, due to uncertainty caused by the pandemic regarding various streams of revenue.

“Due to the high level of uncertainty surrounding the township’s receipt of tax and miscellaneous revenue streams, the township desires to authorize the issuance of its tax anticipation notes in one or more series from time to time in an amount not to exceed $53 million,” officials said in the resolution.

Cardis indicated that the township’s maximum borrowing power is slightly more than $53 million, a sum determined through a state formula that combines 30 percent of a municipality’s tax levy with 30 percent of the amount of miscellaneous revenues in cash from the previous year.

Despite the large number, Cardis and council President Orlando Mercado said they do not anticipate borrowing anywhere near that amount. Since the resolution was passed, Cardis said the township had yet to borrow money and is still determining if it is necessary.

“I don’t anticipate using that unless we absolutely have to; that’s a last resort,” he noted. “Because we’re collecting taxes at the moment and we’re able to pay all of our bills and cash flow seems to be alright, we seem to be okay.”

According to Cardis, the township anticipates introducing its tentative budget at the next regularly scheduled council meeting, as required under state law. As it stands, the township has until the end of June to pass the budget.