HomeShamong NewsShamong tax office seeks creative means to avoid financial trouble

Shamong tax office seeks creative means to avoid financial trouble

Ramifications of the pandemic continue to affect township

Shamong Township has joined New Jersey’s other 564 localities in getting creative with budgets and taxes.

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Township Manager Sue Onorato explained during an Aug. 11 committee meeting that the township has mailed out property tax bill estimates to residents since the second fiscal quarter. Employees within the tax office agreed to estimates for Shamong residents to understand what their tax levies would be, and to appropriately budget for their payments.

Estimates were mailed with the $2.82 per $1,000 of assessed value rate. A new finalized rate of $2.806 for the 2020-2021 fiscal budget was approved and Onorato said she expects many residents to receive an annual average refund of $40.

She clarified estimates are being sent instead of finalized bills, as other entities have taken longer than usual to share complete numbers because of COVID-19. If Shamong waited to mail tax bills, property owners would in turn receive two bills back to back. May’s payment was pushed to June 1 due to residents losing income.

Mayor Michael DiCroce questioned how much money the township keeps compared to the amount it collects, to which Onorato replied that state law mandates a municipality collect taxes for its own budget, the county and schools districts.

“The law is written where, if we don’t collect our taxes, we still have to pay the schools,” Onorato stated. “So, our surplus will erode very quickly.”

The township is still aware of residents whose incomes were severely impacted by the pandemic. Onorate noted cuts to expenditures were made to alleviate further issues.

The second quarter had a 98-percent collection rate. Some residents have payment plans for their taxes.

“But obviously, if we can’t collect the taxes, we’ll still have to front the taxes to the schools,” the township manager explained. “We said, ‘What about collecting 75 percent of taxes and funding 75 percent of schools,’ and they’ll tell us no, we have to pay it all. Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that.”

Resident Neil Wilkinson asked what would happen if school districts are not paid. Both Onorato and DiCroce replied that a lawsuit would be filed and a lien would be put against the township.

An open line of communication was established among the township, Shamong and Lenape Regional districts and Burlington County, and they have been made aware of Shamong’s financial standing, DiCroce shared.

“We’ve talked with various people to see what programs there are to make them aware of our little town situation, and it’s every town in New Jersey that’s going through the same thing,” DiCroce said. “Because we’re a small town, we got hit a little harder.”

Some of the proposed plans included furloughs or expense cuts, but those  would be a last resort. The mayor added Shamong has not sought to scale back its services and has made residents aware of COVID-19 relief programs.

The township committee will hold its next meeting Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m., at 108 Willow Grove Road. An agenda can be found by visiting


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