The Tax Collector
The Tax Collector is a State certified, salaried, full-time employee, appointed by the Manager for a four-year term, with tenure beginning after one term plus one day has been served. Once each property is evaluated and the tax rate established, it is the function of the tax collector to receive all pertinent taxes.
It is the duty of the tax collector's office to: bill local taxes; receive and disburse all money; handle senior citizen exemption applications; and invest money collected in 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day notes of deposit.
Delinquent taxes are a problem in every municipality. No interest is charged if the payment of any quarterly installment is made within ten days after the date it becomes due. Taxes are due February 1st, May 1st, August 1st and November 1st of every year payable to the BOROUGH OF RINGWOOD. The rate of interest charged for the non-payment of taxes or assessments is eight percent per annum on the first $1,500 owed, and up to 18% per annum on any amount in excess. Since not all taxes are collected, state law requires Ringwood to plan in its budget a reserve for uncollected, based on the prior year's percentage of collection.
Unpaid taxes become a lien against the property one day after they are due. Anytime after April 1, the tax collector must hold a tax sale for prior years' taxes. A tax sales certificate is issued for each lien sold. If the certificate is purchased by someone seeking to buy property from tax default, the individual must retain the certificate for two years and begin legal action, called an "in rem foreclosure," which bars the right of the owner to redeem the property by paying back taxes and penalties. If the municipality becomes the lien holder it is only required to wait six months before starting the foreclosure action. The prevailing practice in Ringwood, however, has been for the foreclosure action to be held off until the latter part of the year.
Other procedures: All money received by the tax collector must be deposited within forty-eight hours in an official corporate account in the name of the Borough of Ringwood. The Mayor and Council designate the official bank.
The tax collector also receives and handles money for the Borough's water utility. This is a separate account. The rate of interest on delinquent bills for water usage or stand-by charges (the right to have a large amount of water on call), is 1.5 percent per month charged from the date the bill is rendered. No interest is charged if the bill is paid within 30 days. The water utility is supposed to be self-liquidating, with income equaling expenses. It can, however, spend in deficit for one year, and then the difference is supplied via general taxation, even though the utility serves only a portion of Ringwood.