HOWELL – At a recent Howell Township Council meeting, officials declared their support for a tax rewards program that would be implemented as part of the Howell Shop Local Campaign.
The Howell Township Council desired to stimulate local economy by providing incentives for shopping in Howell. With this rewards program, residents’ patronage to Howell-based businesses can earn them credit on their property taxes.
“The program enables residents to support our local businesses,” said Howell’s Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro.
Officially called the Property Tax Rewards Program, the program will be facilitated by vendors who choose to participate. These businesses then choose the discount amount that they will provide to shoppers and that rebate will go towards residents’ property taxes, he said.
According to Nicastro, the way that the system works is the township sends cards out to all residents that are specially designated for their local shopping at participating vendors. All residents will receive a card and they can choose whether to participate or not. It is not mandatory. When residents buy local, they swipe the card just like a regular credit card.
The township is able to keep track of the amount spent on local businesses through the credit card terminals at the local stores. Participating merchants will have specific terminals for these cards that record the sales and send them to the township to be calculated into the residents’ taxes.
The reward amount that gets applied to property taxes is dependent on the amount of money spent on local businesses, according to Howell Township Manager Brian Geoghegan.
“We have to get sponsors and businesses [to participate],” said Nicastro. “It takes about eight months to a year to get started.”
Howell Township hopes that it can increase local commerce in a way that benefits both the local businesses as well as the taxpayers by providing this financial incentive.