‘Potentially drastic’ budget cuts are being considered, the mayor said.

WESTFIELD, NJ — Will coronavirus get me an extension on my property taxes? It is a question the Westfield mayor said she has been asked repeatedly.

The decision, however, is not one the municipality can make, Mayor Shelley Brindle said at this week’s Town Council meeting.

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“We currently have a 10-day grace period,” Brindle said. “That is not something we have control over. That is something that is dictated by the state.”

Earlier this month, the state extended the deadline for payment of income taxes to July 15. Legislators, however, have yet to do that for property taxes.

A bill, A-3944, introduced in the state Assembly Monday, would extend the due date for third quarter property tax payments until July 15 without interest, legislative records show. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, D-Middlesex, was referred to the Assembly State and Local Government Committee, the records show. As of Friday, the bill had no senate sponsor.

In Westfield in 2019, the owner of a home assessed at the town’s average of value of $795,159 paid $17,096 in property taxes, the second highest in Union County behind Summit. Brindle noted that the town collects taxes and distributes those funds to the school district, the county and the library.

“We are the tax collector for all the taxes of which 60% goes to the schools and 24% goes to the county,” Brindle said. “And by law, they get paid first.”

Discussion of when homeowners will have to pay their taxes, she said, comes amid declining municipal revenues due to the pandemic.

“It’s important to note that 45% of our budget is generated from non-property tax revenue — such as parking, construction, courts — all which were lower than anticipated prior to pandemic, but now they’re at a virtual standstill.”

Brindle said that with many more people unemployed as a result of coronavirus tax collections are anticipated to decline.

“As a result, we will be proposing significant and potentially drastic budget cuts based on revenue projections,” Brindle said.

While officials at the meeting did not specify what those budget cuts would be, Brindle said, the finance committee would be reviewing the spending reductions this week and next.

“We will be prepared to share those details with the public when the budget is presented to the public at our next meeting on April 28,” Brindle said.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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