Vernon launches shop local program

Effort designed to help residents save money on property tax bill

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  • Photo by Mike Zummo George Nikanorov, co-chairman of the Vernon Township Economic Development Advisory Committee gives a presentation on the Shop Vernon program as co-chairwoman Teresa Vihti looks on.



A program introduced at Monday's Township Council meeting could give township residents a way to lower their property taxes while supporting local businesses.

The program called "Shop Vernon" was designed by the township Economic Development Advisory Committee and is designed to reward residents for shopping at participating local merchants with rebates applied to their yearly property tax bill.

Residents have to swipe card at participating businesses and rebate will appear on tax bill.

"This provides a unique opportunity to market yourself," said George Nikaranov, co-chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Committee.

The committee developed the program in conjunction with FinCredit, a business solutions company based in Marlboro NJ who has worked with other towns in New Jersey to launch similar successful programs. FinCredit runs the shop local program with seven other municipalities in New Jersey.

Carmine DeFalco of FinCredit said people have received rebates by as much as $1,000 on their property tax bill through the program. He also said another township that is interested in the program did a study that revealed it loses $20,000 per year in business to a neighboring town.

"The idea is to keep money in town and not lose money to other townships," DeFalco said.

Residents presenting the ‘Shop Vernon’ card at a participating merchant, along with their payment will have a percentage from their purchase go towards their property tax bill for the year. The percentage is determined by each merchant individually. For example, if a resident has a $200 dinner at a participating restaurant in Vernon, where that merchant’s program rebate is defined as 20 percent, then $40 would be applied as a credit against the tax bill of that resident. Annually, when the township issues the next property tax bill, the cumulative transactions show up as a tax credit thereby reducing the tax due for the property owner in the upcoming period.

Nikarnov said renters will receive a rebate as well by using the program in the form of a rebate check at the ened of the year.

As of Wednesday morning, 14 businesses in Vernon were signed up to participate in the program.

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