Do you want to support local business and at the same time lower your tax bill? Bayonne officials may have found a way to do both as part of a new Special Improvement District and Urban Enterprise Zone initiative.
City officials are expected to present “Shop Bayonne Property Tax Reward Program” at a special meeting next month that they believe will help promote local shopping by offering a give-back against municipal property taxes.
According to City Business Administrator Steve Gallo, this program could give credit toward residents’ tax bills when they do business with those stores that are participating in the program.
Businesses benefit by drawing more customers into their shops.
Gallo said that prior to March 1, the city will mail every resident in the city a Shop Bayonne Property Tax Card which will have a magnetic strip similar to a credit or debit card.
When shopping locally, a resident will present the merchant with the card when paying for a service or item.
“This could be for almost anything,” Gallo said, “a meal in a restaurant, a magazine in a shop, an item of clothing, a bottle of liquor, or even a professional service such as payment for legal advice or work done by an architect, as long as the Bayonne business is participating in the program.”
“This will encourage people to shop locally and it enhances businesses, and it gives some property tax relief.” – Steve Gallo
The business person will offer his or her own percentage of the purchase price of the item of service.
“This would not come off the bill,” Gallo said. “But it would be transferred into a special account where he would be used to reduce a homeowner’s tax bill.”
People who rent can also take part and would receive a check at the end of the year for the discounted amount they accumulated.
Gallo said it is possible that some residents might do enough business in town over the course of a year to pay their annual tax bite.
When a resident receives the card in the mail, he or she must register it online at www.propertytaxcard.com.
Every time the card is swiped by a merchant, the amount of the discount is registered and residents can go online to check the progress of their savings over the year, Gallo said.
The city is expected to present the program to local merchants in February in order to have them sign up for it.
If the merchants are participating, they will offer discounts to the homeowners. A resident can go into the store, present their Shop Bayonne card along with their credit card and both will get swiped. Whatever the discount the merchant offers will register, and the discounted amount will go into an account that will be used to offset the homeowner’s property taxes.
“This will encourage people to shop locally and it enhances businesses, and it gives some property tax relief,” Gallo said. “If you really work at it, and focus on shopping locally exclusively or intensively, you could get a $1,000 off your property taxes.”
The city hopes to get the program started by the beginning of March, he said.
“Any merchant who does business here is welcome to join,” he said. “A lot of merchants give discounts from time to time. They can do it on their slow nights, such as Monday or Tuesday.”
Anyone who does business in town can participate, Gallo said.
People can check online for their account status. He called it a painless approach to property tax payment and to promote local business.