The State of New Jersey didn’t allow tax extensions for Galloway Township this year, and the e-mail blast issued to residents when taxes are due wasn’t sent out for the fourth quarter, according to Township Manager Arch Liston. As a result, there were some residents who didn’t make payments in time and were charged with late fees.
“The state allowed some extensions (following Superstorm Sandy), but if you have an accelerated tax sale like we do, you have to have everything done by the end of the year,” Liston said while addressing the situation at the council meeting on Tuesday night, Nov. 27. “No extensions were afforded to us, and we have to have everything done by the third week in December.”
Galloway Township’s taxes for the fourth quarter were due on Nov. 1. According to the township’s website, Galloway provides a 10-day grace period, but residents who don’t make payments by the end of the 10-day period are assessed with fines. Fines for the first $1,500 overdue are 8 percent, and 18 percent after that.Year-end penalties are also assessed at 6 percent on all delinquencies in excess of $10,000 not paid by the end of the year.
“Our former tax collector used to send out email blasts to remind people their taxes are due,” Mayor Don Purdy said. “People’s lives have been turned upside down with the storm. We weren’t hit as hard as our neighbors to the north, but we were still impacted. People’s jobs were affected. A lot of casino workers had to take off work.”
According to Liston, the township worked with a vendor who had a system set up to send out the email blasts.
“For whatever reason, they didn’t do that this year,” Liston said. “But there’s not a lot you can do. It’s very structured, and the timetable is the same every year.
“It was on GTV and it was out front (of the municipal complex). Everyone receives a tax bill between the first and the 10th of every month.”
Liston added the township would be changing vendors.
The township adopted the accelerated tax sale system so that it would know where it stands at the end of the year, according to Purdy. If everything is paid by the third week of December and nothing lingers, the township can enter the next year with a clean slate.
On Tuesday night, town council also approved a resolution calling for an emergency appropriation of $950,000 for a hybrid tax reassessment to be conducted for the 2014 tax year.
“This should stabilize the tax rate,” Liston said. “We’ll be able to pay it back over five years, and it should stop the problem with tax appeals.”
There were more than 2,000 tax appeals in Galloway this year.