WESTFIELD, NJ — Residents will have an extra 30 days to pay their second quarter municipal property tax bills, town officials said Tuesday.
On the same day Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing municipal governments to extend the grace period for property tax May 1 property payments until June 1, the town council did just that.
“This information just became available today, and as a result we will be adding a resolution to tonight’s agenda extending the second quarter tax payment period to June 1,” said Mayor Shelley Brindle at Tuesday’s council session.
Also Tuesday, the town council introduced its 2020 spending plan and discussed payments the town must make to the county and school board as the collector of taxes for those entities.
Town Administrator Jim Gildea said that the town has collected just over 25% of its second quarter property taxes and that he anticipates the town will be able to make the second quarter payments. What happens in the third quarter, remains to be seen.
“Everyone I’ve been talking to around the state is concerned for the third quarter, and that’s something that I’ll be watching very closely,” Gildea said.
The town also has pension bills to pay, he noted.
“Interest accrues if you’re late, and that hasn’t changed,” Gildea said.
The potential for extending the grace period for property tax payments had been a topic of discussion before the governor’s Tuesday executive order and some municipalities had already chosen to waive property tax late fees.
Councilman Mark LoGrippo had then advocated that Westfield follow the lead of other municipalities, which had waived the late fees.
“As of Sunday afternoon, I was pushing through what Murphy did today,” LoGrippo said.
Finance Policy Committee Chairwoman Councilwoman Linda Habgood, however, said that doing so prior to the executive order was ill advised. She cited a memo from the state Department of Community Affairs.
“The very, very strong advice from the DCA and the state was that it would be completely ill-advised until the state made a change, which they did today, and we reacted immediately,” Habgood said.
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