Ocean Township business owners are being urged to sign up to participate in the “Own Ocean” program that gives residents a rebate on their property taxes if they shop at a township-based business.
“It is a property tax rewards program that tries to put money back in the taxpayer’s pocket,” Mayor Christopher Siciliano said.
The first meeting on the program will be held Fri., March 28, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. in the township council chambers at 399 Monmouth Road.
“It will be a breakfast meeting and the response has been pretty good. We have about 30 people signed up for this meeting but will be having more meetings in the future,” Siciliano said.
Tomorrow’s meeting is for business owners only but the special reward cards, like a credit card, will be mailed to all Ocean Township property owners along with their July 1 property tax bills.
“Any township business owner is invited to attend the meeting. This will be a presentation about the rewards program: how it works, how they can participate, and how it can help their business,” Siciliano said.
The mayor said that, so far, many businesses, both retail and professional, have expressed an interest in participating in the unique program.
“We have a lot of retail business owners interested but I also have everything from an accountant, to an auto mechanic, to a moving company also interested. But the primary users will probably be retail businesses and we hope a lot of businesses come on-board so people can use the card almost anywhere in the township,” he said.
Property owners are not the only ones that can benefit from the program and cards are also being mailed to tenants in the township.
“Tenants will get a rebate check instead of having their property taxes lowered. We included tenants to give the business owners as much exposure as possible,” Siciliano said.
The Ray Catena auto group has agreed to fund the estimated 10,000 cards that will be mailed out July 1.
“So the program should be in place by then,” the mayor said.
Any business owner that wants to participate but cannot attend tomorrow’s meeting can telephone Siciliano at 732-245-3931 for more information.
Under the “Own Ocean” program, local merchants will sign up and offer special discounts to Ocean Township residents through a credit-card-type magnetic strip. The card will include the property owner’s block and lot number on the tax map and that savings will be transferred to their annual property tax bill.
Participating businesses usually offer between a 10- to 15- percent discount to residents that will be applied to their property tax bill. Twenty-five percent of the revenues from the program go to administer it and 75 percent goes to the resident’s property tax relief.
Marlboro has a similar program and participating businesses there, in total, saw a $600,000 increase in sales the first year and $1 million in increased sales in the second year.
“Conservatively, a casual user participating in the program can save from $100 to $200 a year but, if you use it a lot, it can result in $500 to $1,000 a year off in your property taxes,” Siciliano said.
A special terminal, to be provided by the merchant at about a $200 cost, is needed to swipe the cards. Large decals will be placed prominently in the participating business.