MAYOR AND COUNCIL
May 1, 2020
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CALL TO ORDER
MAYOR’S STATEMENT AS TO COMPLIANCE WITH P.L. 1975
Adequate Notice of this Meeting has been provided according to the Open Public Meetings Act, Assembly Bill 1030. Notice of this Special Meeting was sent to the New Jersey Herald and the Daily Record on April 29, 2020 and was placed on the official website of the Borough of Stanhope.
Councilman Cipollini – present
Councilman Romano – present
Councilwoman Kuncken – present
Councilman Thornton – present
Councilman Riccardi – present
Councilman Wronko – present
Mayor Zdichocki – present
Mayor Zdichocki offered the following resolution which were read by title.
Resolution 089-20 RESOLUTION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF STANHOPE EXTENDING THE GRACE PERIOD FOR SECOND QUARTER 2020 PROPERTY TAXES TO JUNE 1, 2020
WHEREAS, in light of the dangers posed by Coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”), New Jersey Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 103 on March 9, 2020, which declared both a Public Health Emergency and State of Emergency; and
WHEREAS, on April 7, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 119, which declared that the Public Health Emergency declared in Executive Order No. 103 continues to exist; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-66(a), second-quarter property taxes in the Borough of Stanhope are due May 1, 2020; and
WHEREAS, it is recognized, as set forth in Executive Order No. 130, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused substantial economic disruption for many property taxpayers throughout the State, making it difficult for many residents to meet the May 1, 2020 due date for timely payment of real property taxes; and
WHEREAS, per N.J.S.A. 54:4-67(a), the Borough of Stanhope previously provided that no interest shall be charged if property taxes are paid within ten calendar day following the date upon which property taxes become delinquent, thereby establishing a grace period running through May 11, 2020 for second-quarter property taxes; and
WHEREAS, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 130 on April 28, 2020, which permits any municipal governing body to adopt a resolution instituting a grace period concluding on a date no later than June 1, 2020 for the payment of second-quarter property taxes.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Stanhope that the grace period for second quarter 2020 property tax payments shall be extended to June 1, 2020; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLOVED that the Borough Clerk shall notify the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs of this resolution instituting an extended grace period not later than the third business day next following the adoption of this Resolution.
Mayor Zdichocki asked for discussion by Council. Councilman Thornton asked if the schools and county are also extending their grace period. Administrator McNeilly responded that there is no specific cooperation on this issue. The resolution being adopted is only giving an additional 20-day grace period to Borough residents. The county has shown no flexibility on the matter and he has not heard from the schools.
Mayor Zdichocki noted the school board passed their budget last night. The extension being granted is not an extension of the Borough’s obligation to pay the schools and county. It is only an extension for our residents to pay their taxes. Mayor Zdichocki stated this matter was reviewed by the Borough’s Auditor, CFO and Administrator and it was determined that the Borough will be able to handle it at this point in time, but not necessarily in the future.
Administrator McNeilly noted this matter was presented at the state level and in the press rather poorly because the words “allow” and “mandated” were frequently used. Administrator McNeilly stated they must inform the taxpayers that this is an extension of the grace period and not the payment period. Anyone who does not pay their taxes by June 1st will have to pay interest from May 1st. The Governor and the Governing Body cannot change the physical hard date for the due date on taxes, as it is a legislative function. June 1st is the grace period, not the due date.
Mayor Zdichocki stated she was on a conference call with a number of New Jersey Mayors and they all agreed that they did not like being put in this situation. There were some towns in the state that decided to drop their interest rate to 0%, which is not legal and which is the reason the Governor decided to allow the extended grace period.
Councilwoman Kuncken noted it is the Borough’s obligation to pay the schools their money and she does not think either school will be giving a grace period.
Administrator McNeilly noted there is state statute indicating the county can charge up to 6% to a municipality if the municipality does not make payment on time.
Dana Mooney, CFO, said she received an email from the County Treasurer and CFO, which stated that the Governor’s order does not extend to the county and schools. The county and schools must make all their required payments. Ms. Mooney also said they will not have a tax rate until the end of September so the Borough will have to send out estimated tax bills.
Councilman Romano noted the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority’s obligation is also affected by the Governor’s order as they are obligated to make payment.
On motion by Councilwoman Kuncken, seconded by Councilman Wronko and unanimously carried by the following roll call vote, the foregoing resolution was adopted.
Councilman Cipollini – yes
Councilman Romano – yes
Councilwoman Kuncken – yes
Councilman Thornton – yes
Councilman Riccardi – yes
Councilman Wronko – yes
CITIZEN’S TO BE HEARD
Mayor Zdichocki opened the meeting to the public after advising attendees that there is a five (5) minute time limit for each speaker. Seeing no one from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Zdichocki closed the public portion of the meeting.
On motion by Councilman Cipollini, seconded by Councilman Wronko, and unanimously carried by voice vote the meeting was adjourned at 1:15 P.M.
Approved: Ellen Horak, RMC