We, the Hopewell Township Committee, voted unanimously on Friday [today] to extend the grace period for the payment of second quarter property taxes from May 11th to June 1st, as allowed by Governor Murphy’s recent executive order.
These are unprecedented, difficult, and uncertain times, and for those facing economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this delay aims to give a little more time for stimulus checks to come in, or for unemployment claims to get through the backlog.
Hopewell Township not only collects taxes for its municipal budget, but it also is the collecting agent for the school district (58% of your bill), and the county (24% of your bill), and taxes paid by Hopewell Township residents represent 80% of the school district’s budget. The Township is legally required to pay both the school and the county 100% of the taxes billed (not collected), on time. The Township can then pay for municipal services like the Health Department, police, Public Works, and EMS with the remaining funds. So if the Township collects less than 100% of the taxes due, there is less money to pay for these vital services. And if there is not enough money collected, there is the risk of cutbacks in municipal services.
While we would have liked to have made a decision about extending the grace period closer to May 1, we wanted to ensure enough taxes had been collected to meet financial obligations. We were able to confirm that on Friday. But our collections are not as high as in previous years.
Therefore, we are writing to urge anyone who can afford to pay their property taxes by May 11th to do so. Hopewell Township has come together and supported each other in so many ways during this pandemic, from the mobile food pantry to volunteer grocery shoppers, to maintaining social distance in our parks and on our trails, allowing them to remain open. Please let us come together again—if you can pay your property taxes by May 11th, please do so to allow this delay to help those who are suffering financially.
The Hopewell Township Committee
Julie Blake, Kevin Kuchinski, Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, Courtney Peters-Manning, and Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger