PATERSON, NJ - The Paterson City Council used one of two emergency meetings on Saturday to approve a temporary waiver on interest fees to late property taxes.

“Back on March 19, I called to extend the grace period for taxes – to extend the due date for taxes,” 6th Ward Councilman Al Abdelaziz said. “Unfortunately, because of a state mandate, I learned we could not do that. So, I asked the administration if we could stop the interest. I was told no. But I consulted the New Jersey League of Municipalities and was told it is in the council’s power to reduce late fees. This does not change the due date. But we’re not going to charge interest.”

Abdelaziz added that the reason the issue was brought up in a special meeting was because notices must go out to taxpayers prior to the next scheduled meeting. “This gives taxpayers a window until June 1,” he said. “This resolution protects residents. I’ve been swinging at the fences for something like this. We need to think about what’s happening with our taxpayers. Because we have closed non-essential businesses due to this pandemic, we have handcuffed our taxpayers. The water company cannot shut off water during this emergency. Car companies cannot repossess cars. Renters cannot be evicted. The City of Paterson needs to do something too.”

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He said that taxpayers can afford to wait to pay until they get their stimulus checks from the federal government and not be hit with the late fee. A late fee of 8 percent is usually charged up to $1,500 and then 18 percent above that.

“Government is supposed to help people, not kick them when they are down,” Abdelaziz said.

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