BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Because the township has authorized an additional grace period for paying the second quarter property taxes, the school district is assisting in providing some relief.
In late April, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing municipalities to choose to extend the grace period by a month, from May 1 to June 1.
Many towns in New Jersey have allowed for the grace period, but others have not because of concerns regarding payments that have to be made by the township.
Property taxes are collected by municipal governments, but, by law, those governments must pay both the local school district and the county prior to retaining any funds that would be used to pay township expenses.
In Bridgewater, about 68 percent of property tax revenues go to the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, with another 19 percent going to Somerset County. About 11 percent is left for the township to pay its bills.
Those payments are due by May 15, and the executive order from the governor did not change that deadline.
Bridgewater Mayor Moench signed an amendment to the emergency declaration that was initially issued March 16, extending the grace period. That was later approved by the township council.
Moench announced in mid May that it is estimated Bridgewater has already lost about $1.8 million to the coronavirus so far, including the loss of revenue from local hotels and the Bridgewater Commons Mall.
Moench has also sent a letter to the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, asking them to share in the pain of an anticipated decrease in municipal tax revenue collection.
The district has agreed to reduce the amount of money the township owes in the month of May.
“Bridgewater Township asked for assistance in managing their cash availability by reducing the amount of our payment in the month of May, with the balance to be paid as soon as they collected the taxes, no later than June 30,” board president Jackie Barlow said.
Barlow said they allowed the township to reduce the May payment this year by $3 million, from $11 million to $8 million.
“We’ve worked with both municipalities in the past when they’ve had issues like this,” she said.
Barlow said Raritan Borough has not made the same request for relief in May.
But, she said, the district should be fine with the money it is receiving in May and the balance in June.
"The delay of several weeks will not cause a hardship to our financial operations," she said.