CARTERET—Following a pledge made during the State of the Borough Address given in February, Mayor Daniel Reiman and the Carteret Borough Council passed a resolution last week, authorizing the establishment of an incremental payment program for delinquent property taxes.
The program will be offered by the Borough’s Tax Office, and will allow qualifying homeowners, who have fallen behind on their property taxes as of the calendar year 2008, to pay their taxes in installments to the borough over the next 12 months.
According to Reiman, the program will bypass the potential sale of residential tax liens through public auction, and possible foreclosures on owner-occupied Carteret homes, by offering homeowners installment payments over 12 months.
The economic recession was a major consideration throughout the establishment of the program.
“These have been especially challenging times for working-class homeowners throughout New Jersey,” Reiman said. “By allowing eligible residents to pay their property taxes in installments, we feel they will be allowed to remain focused on the financial challenges affecting their careers and families.”
As of 2008, approximately 113 property taxes were reported delinquent in Carteret alone. According to the Chief Financial Officer, few tax liens are paid off within their immediate time frame, with the majority of liens being purchased by investment groups.
Very few towns in New Jersey have instituted tax installment programs, according to CFO Patrick DeBlasio, with the majority utilizing accelerated tax sales, which place liens on properties within 60 days of delinquency;
“The issue for the borough is simple financial management and cash-on-hand. All taxes will be paid, albeit a little later than normal. The Mayor’s plan allows struggling families the opportunity to ride out this tough economic time in hopes of rebounding property values and job growth. The taxpayers benefit and the borough benefits because the statute interest rate is higher than can make in any government authorized investment vehicle.”
“The primary goal is to keep property taxpayers in their homes,” Reiman added, “and to keep owner-occupied homes occupied. When a home becomes vacant, and people walk away from their mortgage and tax obligations, abandoned homes become an imminent detriment to a community and neighborhood, and can bring down home values and quality of life levels in a neighborhood overnight.”