Have you gotten your property tax bill yet?

Homeowners in some New Jersey towns have not, and since those bills are usually due on Aug. 1, folks are expressing concern and wondering what’s going on.

It turns out the fight over the state budget that played out at the beginning of this month is the reason for the delay.

“At the last moment, they adjusted the amount of state aid that was going to be sent to school districts," said Michael Darcy, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. "Some districts are receiving more aid and some are receiving a little less, and that change meant a change in some property tax bills, meaning the property tax bill had to be recalculated.”

He said most municipalities were able to get their property tax bills out by the middle of July, “but there were about 93 municipalities where it was uncertain as to whether they were going to be able to get their bills recalculated, or send them out as they were, and those are the ones that have been delayed.”

Darcy said Jersey homeowners who have received their property tax bills on time have to pay them on time.

“But if their bills are delayed, maybe they don’t even receive their bill until August, for example, there will be a notice in the bill that indicates what the grace period is going to be and municipalities can create a grace period up to 25 days,” he said.

If tax bills in a town only go out a week later than they normally do, “you wouldn’t have to give the people 25 days extra. You might give them a week extra or something like that.”

Darcy said taxpayers should not have any problem understanding when their property tax bill is due once they receive it.

He also noted one possible problem with what’s happening is the fact that if the bills do go out late, “the municipality still has to pay the school district, it still has to pay the county the amount it owes, and I believe those payments are due Sept. 1, so that can create a cash flow crunch in the municipality.”

He said that means a town “might have to borrow the money to make up for that cash flow crunch, and when you borrow money, it costs money.”

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