New trash cans lead to tax hike for some Bergenfield residents

Posted: Updated:
BERGENFIELD -

A request for extra trash cans lead to a tax increase for some Bergenfield residents.

The borough recently introduced new trash cans. Each house would get a specific number of trash cans based on how many bedrooms it had.

But when some residents started to ask for extra cans, officials started to pull up borough records. They found that many homes in the borough had built additions or made other improvements but officials did not update the assessments that would have raised taxes. There were about 200 homes in all – about $800,000 in uncollected taxes.

Mayor Norm Schmetz tells News 12 New Jersey that the borough is investigating why the buildings department didn’t communicate with the tax assessors about the new constructions.

Bills have been sent to homeowners for the back taxes. By law the borough can’t collect more than two years’ worth. Some homeowners will owe thousands.

The taxes are due by Tuesday – with a 10-day grace period.

A homeowner tells News 12 that he feels that he is being penalized for the town’s mistake. But Schmetz says that it is only fair – if the homeowner builds an addition, they have to pay taxes.

A request by the homeowners to set up a payment plan was denied.

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