Buy In Brick Pays Residents $65,000

Darren Sirota shows off a Buy in Brick card. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)
Darren Sirota shows off a Buy in Brick card. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – Township residents received some $65,000 in property tax rebates from January of 2017 to January of 2018 by frequenting township merchants who participate in the property tax rewards program, Buy in Brick.

The program is designed to stimulate township business and lower property taxes for those who have signed up for the award card, explained township employee Darren Sirota, who oversees the program.

Residents spent a total of $1.1 million at participating businesses during that calendar year, and business owners love it, he said.

As part of his job, Sirota spends his days visiting stores, setting up appointments, emailing and cold-calling businesses, and mailing out Buy in Brick cards to residents who email or call to request one.

“Buy in Brick is huge in a lot of ways,” Sirota said. “Business owners are interested in more than just bringing in new business and tax relief; it’s a way to unite the community. Everybody is taking part.”

FinCredit Inc. of Marlboro administers the Buy in Brick Program and has been doing so since the township signed on for the program in October 2014.

Flyers like this encourage business owners and residents to join the program. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)
Flyers like this encourage business owners and residents to join the program. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

FinCredit charged $10,000 for the township to join the program, but that fee was paid solely by River Rock Restaurant and Marina Bar in exchange for an advertisement on the card, so no tax dollars were used to join the program.

As an example of how Buy in Brick works, a township merchant signs up for the program and might offer a 10 percent discount (the percentage can vary) to their customers who have a Buy in Brick Card.

If their participating customer spends $100, they would still pay $100 but the business owner would keep $90 and $10 would go toward the program.

On the next third quarter property tax bill, the resident would get a credit for $7.50 (FinCredit gets 25 percent). The more a resident spends at a participating business, the more credit they would receive on their property tax bill. Renters receive a check for the cash value, Sirota said.

From the program’s inception, 130 merchants have participated, but through attrition (some businesses close, some move out of town, some find that the program is not profitable for them) there are currently 65 businesses enrolled in the program, he said.

In the previous year, some 51 businesses were enrolled in the program, he added.

Flyers like this encourage business owners and residents to join the program. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)
Flyers like this encourage business owners and residents to join the program. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

Businesses pay $10 a month to participate in Buy in Brick.

The cost of advertising for the program comes out of the Tourism Development Commission from licensing fees, food vendor and taxi licensing fees, and not tax dollars.

Some 5,700 township families participate in Buy in Brick and the program continues to grow each year, Sirota said.

“The administration is very happy with the results because the program has a great response from businesses and residents as well,” he said.

Residents who participate get a card like this one. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)
Residents who participate get a card like this one. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

Residents can obtain a Buy in Brick card at Town Hall or by visiting the township website at twp.brick.nj.us/. Click on the “Community” tab at the top, and on the dropdown menu click on “Buy in Brick”. Sirota’s email is dsirota@twp.brick. nj.us or call 732 451-5007.

A business can register online at propertytaxcard.com/BuyInBrick/addbusiness.

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Judy moved to Ocean County from New York City in 1988, and began her second career as a feature and news reporter in the mid-1990's. She has worked for Micromedia Publications since 2008, primarily reporting for The Toms River Times and The Brick Times. Judy has also worked for The Leader Review in Point Pleasant Beach, The Brick Communicator and The Asbury Park Press. Reach Judy by e-mail at Judysmestadnunn@gmail.com.