January 7, 2014 at 1:56 PM
LIVINGSTON, NJ, - Newly appointed Mayor of Livingston, Michael Rieber, kicked off the first council meeting of the year by bringing in a company called Fincredit Inc. to help save residents’ money on their property taxes.
Fincredit Inc. offers a Property Tax Card Program (PTCP), which according to their brochure is “a township supported economic development program, providing property tax dollars as an incentive for shopping locally.”
President and CEO of Fincredit, Carmine DiFalco, presented his company’s services to the town council last night explaining, “When they (town residents using PTCP) shop in town at a participating retailer, they will pay the normal amount for the bill and they will also get the reward card (benefits.) The reward card is swiped and a percentage of the sale, whatever (percentage) the merchant wants to do, then ultimately goes back into this person’s property tax bill.”
DiFalco went on to explain that the program is completely discretionary. He said local businesses may sign up with the program and will give a discount of their choice when patrons use the reward card, which is usually anywhere from two to twenty percent. 75% of that discount goes directly to rebate property taxes (or if a renter it goes toward a quarterly cash rebate) with the remaining 25% going to Fincredit, Inc. to pay for their services.
DiFalco said his program is community driven, since it aims to convince consumers to shop locally, and beneficial for town merchants because of the newly added incentive for patrons and the additional marketing that local businesses will gain. This program is currently being used in six NJ townships including Marlboro, Bayonne, and Pequannock.
“You’re helping the businesses, the businesses are helping you lower your taxes, so it’s a win-win,” said Mayor Rieber.
Deputy Mayor Silverman did not seem as convinced, however, and inquired about the concerns of the small businesses, and “what has the pushback been” from them to which DiFalco answered “well, 80% of the time when we go to the decision-maker, we make the sale.”
The council will further discuss bringing in the PTCP in future meetings, with the company needing an ordinance passed for them to start trying to co-opt local businesses into the program.
In other news, the council discussed setting up a LMAC Prescription Drug Drop Box for residents to discard their unused prescription drugs, but is more leant to allow such a program be run by the Livingston Police Department.
There was also discussion about making the council agendas more understandable to the public by adding an interpretive statement underneath agenda items, which nothing definitive has been decided upon yet.
Also, it was stated that according to experts, Livingston will face no influx in gypsy moths as other places may face, after doing an approximation of the moth population.
Township Manager, Michele Meade also brought up the fact that the township has set up a Facebook page, which has information about Livingston activities and encouraged as many as residents as possible to “like” the page.