BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, NJ – Mayor Carmen Amato, of Berkeley Township today said he wants to see Governor Murphy reinstate the homestead rebate plan in New Jersey. The program provides property tax relief in the form of a credit to eligible homeowners and in 2017, 60,906 residents in Ocean County qualified for the Homestead Program, which provided an average of a $221 credit for the May 1st second quarter property tax payment.
In his town, which has a high senior citizen population, Amato said he has 8,700 residents that qualify for the Homestead Program, which is the highest number of residents in the state.
The State of New Jersey has announced it has temporarily frozen almost one billion in spending due to COVID-19 and of the programs it is freezing is the Homestead Program.
“This action is untimely and unconscionable, given the number of residents affected by COVID-19 related layoffs and furloughs of New Jersey residents who will now be unable to make their property tax payments,” Amato said. “We urge Governor Murphy to direct the Treasurer to find other sources of funding to temporarily freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reinstate the Homestead Program to provide property tax relief to qualified residents who require such relief, especially during these times of economic uncertainty.”
As for Berkeley Township, Amato said after learning Murphy has extended the late penalty window for property taxes, he and the township council will host an emergency meeting to discuss implementing that new payment window in Berkeley Township.