BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Property owners in Montclair now have until June 1 to pay taxes that were due May 1, after the mayor and council approved an extension at their meeting Tuesday, May 5.
As a result of the extension, no interest will be charged to property owners who pay their property taxes on or before June 1.
Typically, second-quarter property tax payments are due May 1, with a 10-day grace period. Before the extension, owners had until Monday, May 11, to make their payments before interest would begin accruing.
However, on April 28, Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order that extended the grace period to June 1. The governor said the extension would provide much-needed relief to homeowners struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Allowing municipalities the option of extending the grace period for May property tax payments is the right thing to do, as many New Jerseyans are impacted financially as a result of this crisis,” Murphy said.
“Leaders of towns and cities across the state have been trying to find ways to lessen the blow on local residents, and with this action, they are empowered to provide relief to homeowners as we continue to do everything possible to fight this pandemic.”
Murphy’s order was necessary because there is currently no mechanism in the law to allow municipalities to extend the grace period as a result of a public health-related emergency. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, state law was amended to allow towns that have experienced a flood, hurricane, superstorm, tornado or other natural disaster to extend the grace period for up to a month.
“We are pleased with the governor’s decision to extend the grace period to provide a bit of breathing room for our homeowners, many of whom had been asking for an extension,” said Mayor Robert Jackson. “The COVID-19 pandemic is severely impacting so many of our residents and businesses and we hope this measure will help to somewhat ease the burden.”
The Montclair Municipal Building is currently closed to the public until further notice, so in-person bill payments are no longer accepted by the township. Check payments can be dropped into the box located outside, toward the front of the building, next to the U.S. Postal Service mailbox. All checks must be in an envelope clearly noting which department they should go to.
Montclair encourages residents to make payments online at tinyurl.com/y7b39rw7. The Township continues to waive e-check bill payment fees and encourages property owners to pay their bills using this method. Credit card transaction fees will be waived through May 11.