By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Eatontown – Mayor and council held a meeting on Friday, May 8, to discuss Resolution 88-2020, authorization to extend the grace period for payment of real property taxes. Borough residents were expected to pay their quarterly taxes on May 1.
The meeting was conducted via Zoom and the public had the option of calling in and participating. “Tonight we have on the agenda one item and one item only, no other items will be considered,” said Anthony Talerico, Jr., Mayor of the borough. Talerico said that resolution 88-2020 is in accordance with Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 130, which as a result of the many hardships residents of the Garden State are facing as a result of COVID-19, he didn’t feel they needed the additional pain of paying their property taxes for the fourth quarter at the due date. The governor is allowing a 30-day grace period.
When this opportunity to municipalities was first offered, a lot people had reached out immediately and said the town should do it. “But that would have been the wrong idea to do it immediately for the Borough of Eatontown,” said Talerico. He added that the finance committee members of council representatives Maria Escalante, Council President Kevin L. Gonzalez and Chairperson Hope Corcoran were in contact with William Lucia III, Interim Administrator. They wanted to ensure that Eatontown had received enough funds to pay their bills and meet their obligations to Monmouth County and the Eatontown Board of Education prior to making any determination.
“We had received large payments so we could continue our operations and on the advice of the finance committee, CFO and administrator who felt comfortable, and only then did I feel comfortable offering it.”
“It’s important to remember that the Governor gave needed relief to the residents. He did not give the borough relief to meet their obligations as well,” Gonzalez said. He added that Eatontown has a $3 million plus payment that they have to make to Monmouth County and the board of education by May 15. “So we really had to wait to make sure we were able to get some of the big checks in before we could commit to this well-needed relief to the residents.”
A vote was taken with Gonzalez, Joseph Olsavsky, Mark Regan, Jr., Escalante and Corcoran voting yes. Missing from the meeting was councilperson Jasmine Story.
Talerico wanted the public to know that the 30-day extension did not waive interest fee. “I would like to remind the public that at the end of the extension if the taxes aren’t paid unfortunately the interest reverts back to May 1,” he said.