Two months ago, at my urging, the Berkeley Township Council unanimously approved a resolution urging the Governor and both Democrats and Republicans in the legislature to use at least a portion of the unexpected increase in state tax revenues to expand the Property Tax Reimbursement Program also known as the Senior Freeze Program. Between a local tax revaluation in Berkeley and frozen enrollment for the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program since 2009, many Berkeley seniors have been the victim of a double tax hit through no fault of their own.
As the architect of two budget amendments in 2010 that eliminated the proposed tax increase, after years of annual increases, expanding the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program and opening it up to new enrollees would go a long way towards easing the property tax burden on middle-class seniors in Berkeley and around the state.
I’m pleased to report the State fiscal 2012 budget, signed into law, will increase funding for all property tax programs, including the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program by $90 million. Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program checks to senior and disabled homeowners were mailed last week. Every individual who qualifies for the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program will receive a benefit this year. That’s good news because these economic times are tough for everyone, but they are even tougher for seniors who are on a fixed income. I realize that expanding this program doesn’t solve our property tax crisis in this state, but it will help seniors struggling to make ends meet.
It is also important that those who have not signed up for the program now have another opportunity to do so. The deadline for filing Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program applications has been extended to Oct. 31. For information about the Senior Freeze (Property Tax Reimbursement) Program, or to obtain an application, contact the Property Tax Reimbursement Hotline at 1-800-882-6597 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Information is also available on the Division of Taxation’s Web site at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/propfrez.shtml
New Jersey State Weatherization Program Available
New Jersey State Weatherization Program is available to residents to reduce home energy costs. Councilwoman Judy Noonan recently provided our Council with information on the State’s Weatherization Assistance Program. Increasing utility costs are causing serious financial hardships for many residents. This program can help permanently reduce their energy bills through energy conservation improvements. To qualify for this program you must meet a certain income criteria. To find out if you qualify for this program, call (732) 244-8176, and let them know you are calling regarding the State’s Weatherization Assistance Program.
Congratulations and thank you Angelo Guadagno
At our July 13th Council meeting, we honored Berkeley Township Elementary School teacher Angelo Guadagno. Mr. Guadagno recognized a student in need and immediately began a life saving technique on the student. Student Rory McFadden was choking. Because of Mr. Guadagno’s quick action in performing the Heimlich maneuver, Rory is with us today. Congratulations and thank you Mr. Guadagno.
I welcome your comments, questions or concerns. Please feel free to e-mail me at Carmen@carmenamato.com or call me at 732-269-1244.