TOMS RIVER – For Toms River and South Toms River residents, saving money on property taxes could be as simple as swiping a debit card. In what could be the first regional business partnership of its kind in the state, the Township of Toms River has partnered with South Toms River so that residents can receive property tax credits by shopping locally. A Visa debit card will soon be available to all Toms River and South Toms River residents.
Each time the resident uses the debit card, a percentage of their purchase will be applied as credit towards the resident’s property taxes and will be sent directly to their local taxing authorities.
The amount of the reward will be up to the local business owner. As an example of how the program will run, a retailer in the program could set a 10 percent “reward” so that a customer spending $100 would have $10 credited toward their property taxes when using the Estate Card. The individual would also receive an additional credit of 25 cents for simply using the card, Councilman Terrance L. Turnbach said.
Businesses in both towns would be part of the program, but the savings stay with the buyer, he said. In other words, if a Toms River resident buys something in a participating South Toms River store, they would get a tax rebate on their Toms River property taxes. The reverse would also be true – a South Toms River resident would get a rebate on their South Toms River taxes for a purchase made at a participating Toms River store.
“Although we are starting our program on the heels of Toms River, it would be considered a separate program, but still a way to concentrate on local businesses,” South Toms River clerk and business administrator Joseph Kostecki said. “It’s a great program to create a better local environment for businesses to thrive.”
Additionally, since South Toms River has a lot of renters, officials wanted to make sure they could have a program that worked for them, he said. Using the separate renters program, renters get money put back on the card, provided that they bring in more than $10 a month in rewards.
On June 25, Toms River Township passed a resolution to enter into contract with Municipal Cards LLC, the property tax rebate program, with the goal of further developing Toms River’s downtown area and encouraging residents to shop local. All Toms River businesses will be able to establish their own “rewards” for purchases made by residents. “Everything’s falling into place,” Turnbach said regarding the plans. “This is a win-win for the residents of Toms River and for our local Toms River businesses.”
The card will allow users to transfer funds 24/7 through the Cards Rewards browser extension available on Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. They can also download the Cards Rewards mobile app, according to the company’s website, MyEstateCard.com. Residents will be able to load their card through another bank account, via a check, through image deposits, or using Paypal. Green Dot reload locations are also currently available at more than 100,000 retail stores and financial service centers nationwide to make deposits.
The program will be run through the Estate Card by Visa, Turnbach said. Application for the card will be available online and links will be provided shortly on the Toms River Township page (tomsrivertownship.com).
– Chris Lundy contributed to this story