The proposal to set up a Property Tax Reward Program was introduced to the public by the Middle Township Committee at a meeting on November 18, 2013. At that time Deputy Mayor Tim Donohue said the program "has the potential for providing township property owners with savings on their tax bills simply by shopping and dining at businesses in our community."
Now, nine months later, Donohue is the mayor of Middle Township and the program is still on hold. At the original meeting, then Mayor Dan Lockwood indicated the "program results in no added costs to Middle Township," which in fact was not true and that's why the program has not advanced (see "The Devil Is In the Details").
In an interview with Mayor Donohue, he noted that the up-front costs of the program are $15,000, which includes advertising and the cost of the Tax Reward Program discount cards and window clings. Mayor Donohue said the program will not go forward until all of those costs are underwritten through contributions. At the moment, only $5,000 has been pledged by Cape Bank and about 15 businesses have signed up for the program.
Businesses participating in the program would pay Fincredit, Inc. $10 a month to run the program and Fincredit would get 25% of the rebate resulting from a sale. The balance of the rebate would be credited to the buyer in the form of a township property tax deduction at the end of the year.
No one can argue that bringing more business to local merchants through the Property Tax Reward Program isn't a good idea. Until that becomes a reality, however, there's no reason why we should not patronize local businesses that do a good job of providing most if not all of what we need on a daily basis.