On Thursday, December 27, Middletown Township will hold a sale of unpaid property taxes and sewer fees. The sale will include property taxes owed for 2012 – including amounts owed for the current quarter – and sewer fees owed through June 30th.
A list of affected properties, sorted by block and lot number, was published in the December 7th edition of the Two River Times weekly and is available here until December 13th: http://trtnj.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/December-7-classified.pdf. The Times’ link will become inactive after the new edition comes out on Friday, so the public notice has been saved to an archive site and is accessible here: http://archive.org/details/TaxSaleListForMiddletown.
The Two River Times is not as widely read as the Asbury Park Press, and regardless, many people get their news online these days. I am providing a heads up about the tax sale on Patch to give folks a better chance to address the matter timely to avoid the headache and extra expense of a tax lien on their properties. I am told that those on the list have been notified by mail, but many of us fall behind on our paperwork – especially this time of year – and letters don’t always reach recipients.
The published list was compiled by the Township on or about November 26 and does not reflect payments made since then. Amounts owed include interest and also some sale-related charges which are required to be paid even if accounts are settled ahead of the December 27 sale date. Property owners had until November 16 to pay 4th quarter taxes this year without accruing interest for late payment.
Middletown Township and TOMSA first held accelerated tax sales in the month of December starting in 2010. Prior to that, sales were typically held in April, including a sale in April 2010. The shift in 2010 provided a one-time hit of additional revenue that year.
The December sale means that 4th quarter taxes are being sold only about six weeks after they are due. That short timeframe was true the last two years as well but is particularly burdensome to residents this year in the aftermath of the storm.
At the November 14th meeting of the Township Committee, I asked officials if the sale of 4th quarter property taxes could be postponed until the spring of 2013 to give residents more of a cushion to pay. The Township’s CFO, Nicola Trasente, explained that they couldn’t postpone the sale of 4th quarter taxes because there was a need to raise the revenue in 2012 for the purposes of developing the Township’s 2013 budget. If I understood him correctly, 2012 actual revenue is the basis for 2013 projected revenue in line with state rules, and any reduction in 2012 revenue would mean a bigger 2013 shortfall and tax increase.
I pointed out that the budget is a dynamic document that could be adjusted for additional revenue raised in the spring of 2013, ahead of the budget’s finalization and approval typically held in the summer. Mr. Trasente said that a budget vote could occur at any time, even in January or February, seeming to imply that the vote would occur earlier in the year than usual. (While I can think of at least one good reason for early budget adoption, it seems less likely in 2013 given the number of storm-related re-assessments). Trasente said that the Township had asked the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to waive the “revenue” rule, but that DCA officials said it was outside their authority to alter the rules and that permission would need to come from the Legislature or Governor.
As of the date of this post, 4th quarter unpaid taxes will be included in the December 27 sale. Inquiries can be directed to the Tax Collector’s office at 732-615-2086.