Officials from Princeton University said that annual checks are being mailed next week to about 700 Princeton homeowners as part of the 2016 settlement of a lawsuit challenging Princeton University’s property tax exemptions. The 2020 payments are the fourth payments in a six-year program.
As part of the settlement agreement, Princeton University contributed $2 million in 2017 and agreed to contribute $1.6 million per year from 2018 through 2022 to a local property tax relief fund. The fund distributes annual payments to Princeton homeowners who received a homestead benefit under the New Jersey Homestead Property Tax Credit Act in the most recent year for which the fund received a list prepared by the state of homeowners who were paid homestead benefits. The fund is administered by the Community Foundation of New Jersey.
The 2020 aid payments will be about $2,100 per eligible home. Homeowners will have 90 days to deposit their checks and can use the funds for any purpose.
School officials said to be eligible to receive a payment this year, homeowners had to qualify for homestead benefits in 2016, which is the most recent year for which the fund received a list of homeowners who were paid homestead benefits by the state, and must continue to own the home. Last year’s aid payments were also based on the list of 2016 homestead benefit recipients. New Jersey has not prepared or shared a list based on 2017 qualifiers for homestead benefits because the state postponed payment of these benefits in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The distributions from the fund in 2017, the first year of the program, established a maximum amount per eligible home for the subsequent five years of the program. The settlement provides that in each year of the program, excess funds after all eligible distributions have been completed will be donated to 101: Inc., a nonprofit organization, to provide need-based scholarships for graduates of Princeton High School attending post-secondary educational institutions other than Princeton University.
Eligible homeowners will receive checks directly from the Community Foundation of New Jersey the week of Nov. 8. Questions should be directed to Joyce Jonat, program officer at the foundation, at 1-800-659-5533, ext. 3010.