On Monday, May 4, the Town Council voted to extend the grace period for second quarter property tax payments, which were actually due on Friday, May 1. Yesterday, the town sent out an email notifying residents that they would not be charged interest if payment is received by Verona’s tax office by June 1. If taxes are delinquent after that, interest will be calculated back to the original May 1 due date.
On Tuesday, April 28, Gov. Phil Murphy gave New Jersey municipalities the option to push back the payment deadline. While that might have helped taxpayers struggling financially as a result of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, it could have put town finances in a bind. The worry among municipal officials was not that large numbers of individual taxpayers would pay late, but that banks, which handle the property tax payments for homeowners who still have a mortgage, would delay transferring the funds to towns to shore up their own finances. If that had happened, the towns, which collect property taxes on behalf of their school districts and county governments, would have had to come up with the funds to pay those entities from their own coffers. In Verona, about 60% of property taxes come into town via the banks.
The normal grace period for paying property taxes is 10 days, so there is a chance that some Verona homeowners had not paid their property taxes by Monday, when the town made its decision. The township said in its email yesterday that while the municipal building is closed to the public because of the pandemic, there is a drop box in the foyer on Gould Street where people can leave payments. In addition, the township Tax Collector’s office can be reached by phone from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at 973- 857-4777 or by email at [email protected]
Verona’s municipal government and Board of Education both recently approved their budgets for 2020, with modest increases to both (see Township and BOE budgets). But both bodies cautioned that their finances could change as a result of the pandemic.