Newark offers amnesty for late fees on property tax, water and sewer bills

By Steve Strunsky | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on August 18, 2016

NEWARK — The City of Newark is offering an amnesty program that waives penalties and interest on overdue property tax, water and sewer bills for residents and businesses, Mayor Ras Baraka announced Thursday.

The program is effective immediately through Sept. 12, and applies to bills from 2015 and earlier, Baraka said. The program includes overdue bills on properties that already have liens against them.

"This program is especially needed during these challenging economic times to generate revenue for our City, but will also assist our residents who are already delinquent on their bills," Baraka said in a statement.

"By participating in this program, residents who are in arrears on their 2015 and prior years' property taxes, water and sewer charges, and all municipal liens, will avoid further penalties."

Under the program, payments of overdue bills must be made in full, and property owners must be up to date on their 2016 first and second quarter bills.

Those overdue bills, from the first two quarters of 2016 and past years, come to more than $35 million, including $25,533,816.57 in back taxes and liens, and
$10,012,607.44 in delinquent water and sewer bills, according to Newark Finance Director Danielle Smith.

To put that overdue amount in perspective, it is more than half of a $60 million revenue deficit in the city's 2015 municipal budget, which drove a property tax increase of $358 for the average Newark homeowner. 

Payments postmarked after Sept. 12 will be assessed interest and penalties.

The program allows only for payments made in cash, certified bank funds, money orders, and debit or credit cards. No checks will be accepted.

For information on the amnesty program, call: 973-733-3960 for property taxes; 973-733-3875 for tax liens; or 973-733-6370 for water and sewer bills.

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