PATERSON, NJ – Thousands of Patersonians will have to wait at least another month to get refunds from their successful 2012 tax appeals, officials said Tuesday night. That’s because the city has to start collecting payments on the next round of tax bills before it will have enough money to cover the refunds, officials said.

Overall, property owners have about $10 million coming to them as a result of last year’s tax appeals, said Paterson Finance Director Anthony Zambrano. In some instances, folks opted to have the refunds deducted from their next tax bill, he said. In others, they are asking for the payments.

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So far, the city finance staff has issued about 80 percent of the refund checks, but has not sent them out yet, Zambrano told the City Council on Tuesday. That will have to wait until after the city sends out its delinquent February tax bills and folks begin to make payments to replenish the municipal coffers, officials said.

The city plans to issue the next tax bills on March 18, as long as the 2013 budget gets approved at the council’s March 12 meeting, Zambrano said. Property owners then will have 25 days, or until April 12, to pay their taxes, he said. Councilman Kenneth Morris said it was important for folks to know that if they miss the April 12 deadline that they will have to pay interest and penalties dating back to February 1.

The council on Tuesday night approved amendments to the proposed 2013 budget that eliminated the $8.5 million structural deficit that had been facing the city. Last week, the news that the state would provide Paterson with an extra $2.4 million in Transition Aid had reduced the deficit to about $900,000. Administration officials on Tuesday outlined the final changes needed to close that gap, including the addition of $525,000 in revenue that the city expects to get in federal emergency reimbursements from Hurricane Sandy and a reduction of $335,113 in the city’s reserve account for uncollected taxes.

The budget will produce a 3.62 percent in Paterson’s levy, which is the total amount of taxes that need to be collected to pay for municipal government. The levy would increase by about $4.9 million to hit $139.9 million for the current fiscal year.

Officials said they have not yet calculated exactly how much on average the tax increase will affect homeowners.

The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the revised 2013 at its meeting next Tuesday at 7 am.