Property tax cards shaving money off residents’ bills
One by one, municipalities in the Garden State are jumping on board with a program designed to increase local business and save taxpayers some dough.
Marlboro was the first in the state, perhaps the first in the country, to introduce special cards to their residents who, through using the cards at local restaurants or shops, can see the savings pile up over time and end up with hundreds of dollars off their property tax bill at the end of the year.
Here's how it works: John hands over his town-issued property tax card when making a $20 purchase at Angelloti's Pizzeria and Trattoria on Route 9. Angelloti's, offering a 12 percent rebate, will then contribute $2.40 towards John's tax bill. John then treats his wife to a day at AQUASPA down the road, which has a rebate of 10 percent, and after paying his $100 tab, another $10 is headed towards his bill.
Since inception in 2012, Marlboro residents have seen more than $155,000 in property tax savings. The card, meanwhile, directly correlated to more than $2.5 million in sales among businesses that participate in the "Shop Marlboro" program.
"It's a win-win-win for everybody," said Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik. "The resident wins because they're getting their property tax bill lowered, the local business wins because it encourages people to shop here, and the township wins because everyone's happy."
Even Hornik can't resist the savings. Last year, he shaved more off his bill than anyone else -- close to $600.
Following Marlboro's success, other towns have introduced identical programs. Nearby Manalapan made cards active for their residents in November. Ocean Township launched "Own Ocean" on Aug. 1.
"We've opened it up to tenants as well," said Ocean Mayor Chris Siciliano. "They'll be eligible for a rebate check on the same principle."
About 25 businesses are currently participating in the Own Ocean program, but that number is expected to double by the new year. Siciliano said merchants fully fund the program by paying $10 per month with no contract.
Berkeley, as well as Point Pleasant Beach and Borough, are reportedly in line to introduce property tax cards in the near future.