On May 15 Governor Murphy signed A-3969/S-2392 into law. P.L. 2020, c. 34 provides for local government flexibility with regard to various timeframes, deadlines, and other statutory requirements in order to help them continue to function and meet their obligations during times of emergencies.
Under the law, the Director of the Division of Local Government Services will have the power to extend any deadline under the Local Budget Law, Local Fiscal Affairs Law, and Local Authorities Fiscal Control Law. Municipal Land Use Law deadlines may be extended by the adoption of emergency rules.
In addition, the Director can permit a governing body to extend the deadline grace period for quarterly property tax payments for the first $10,000 of the property quarter payment. If the governing body extends the grace period, after adoption of the resolution notice must be provided to all taxpayers prior to the quarterly tax payment date. To satisfy the notice requirement the notice must be posted on the municipal bulletin board and website, published in the official newspaper, and either sent by regular mail or by both the telephonic system and one of the following alternatives: email, text messaging system, or any other digital platform used by the municipality to disseminate information to municipal residents electronically.
The Director may extend the dates for payment of taxes due to the county, school and other taxing districts however the Director must require the municipality to pay a percentage of the total installment of taxes due to county, school or other taxing district by the original statutory date. In determining the percentage paid the director must consider the amount of property taxes collected by municipality, fiscal condition of the municipality, fiscal conditions of the county, school and taxing district, and other budgetary, fiscal or economic factors the Director finds appropriate to make the determination. Also the law permits County Freeholders by resolution to waive the interest that a municipality is required to pay the county on any unpaid property taxes due to them if the municipality adopted an extended interest free period.
The law also extended the certification renewals for Municipal Clerks, Chief Financial Officers, Certified Tax Collectors, Qualified Purchasing Agents, and Public Works Managers as well as the term for the acting or temporary certified positions.
The law permits a governing body, provided that reasonable public notice and provisions are made for public input, to conduct remote public meetings during public health emergency or state of emergency. Under the law, the Division is given rulemaking authority, which must include minimum procedures to be followed to provide reasonable public notice and allowance for public input.
The law clarifies the definitions of “In-person funds transfer” and “Online funds transfer” with respect to transactions made under electronic payments to disallow a service that requires a local unit to maintain, and funds to be transmitted to, an account that is not a designated depository of the local unit.
The law also extended the timeframe before interest is charged for delinquent annual Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and Police and Firemen’s Retirement System (PFRS) Pension payment in 2020. Annual Pension payments made after May 31 will accrue an interest rate of 10% against any unpaid balance of the pension payment.
Finally, the law addressed times when a governing body changes the rate of interest to be charged for delinquent taxes, assessments, or other municipal charges, or to be charged for the end of year penalty. After the governing body adopts a resolution changing the interest rate notice to all taxpayers must be provided prior to the date taxes are due or with the tax bill stating the new rate(s), date the new rate takes effect and if not for the year, which quarters the new rate will apply to.
The notice may be part of the tax bill or separate from the tax bill. The law defines notice to mean a posting on municipal bulletin board, posting on municipal webpage, publishing a notice in the official newspaper and issuance by one of the following alternatives: electronic mail, text messaging system, telephonic system or any other digital platform used by the municipality to disseminate information to municipal residents electronically.
We suggest you review this new law with your administrator, financial professionals, and attorney.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Sr. Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481 x112.