BERKELEY – Officials say the town is getting hurt for doing the right thing.
There’s a state law which decrees that 100 percent disabled veterans may qualify for an exemption to paying property taxes. For most towns, this is not a big issue. In Berkeley, where there are large senior communities, this adds up.
Every so often, the Township Council sends a resolution to the state urging them to be reimbursed for this program. The refrain is always the same: They have no problem rewarding veterans who have sacrificed a great deal for their country. The problem is that this creates a budget hole that has to be filled. They would like Trenton to reimburse them for the amount of money that the veterans are saving.
“We support all of our veterans. It’s a great program,” Mayor Carmen Amato said. “The state of New Jersey has a state mandate they are not funding.”
The township provided statistics on how many disabled veterans are in the township and how it impacts the taxes:
There are currently 279 properties that are exempt from taxation due to them being owned by a 100 percent disabled veteran. If you add the property values of all of these homes together, it amounts to $54,825,500.
Multiplying this by the tax rate, 2.167, totals $1,188,068.59. This means that there is $1,188,068.59 that has to be raised by other residents.
Berkeley officials have asked Trenton to reimburse them for this money.
The Berkeley Times reached out to state representatives for a reply to this resolution, but did not receive one as of press time.