Taxpayers line up outside the receiver of taxes office at Riverhead Town Hall to pay their 2017/2018 tax bills. File photo: Peter Blasl

Riverhead property owners who were furloughed and unpaid during the federal government shutdown now have until April 25 to pay their first- half 2018-2019 property taxes.

The first-half tax bill was due on Jan. 10. On Tuesday, the town board passed a resolution authorizing the extension. The extension also applies to the spouses of those workers affected.

Riverhead joins the towns of Brookhaven, Babylon, and Huntington, as well as Suffolk County, in offering this assistance to federal employees who had to work without pay during the shutdown. The governor signed legislation Feb. 1 to allow municipalities to grant the extension.

“Working families should not have to suffer because of the dysfunction in Washington. This is something that can make a real difference as these workers get back on their feet,” Riverhead Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said. “Our neighbors were the unfortunate victims of national politics and this shows that government can still help people on the local level.”

Extensions will be granted automatically to affected federal employees, but those applying must notify the Tax Receiver’s Office that they are seeking the extension. Proof of employment must also be provided.

“This gives us the option of being able to offer relief to those who were affected by the shutdown,” tax receiver Laurie Zaneski said.

“In terms of day-to-day operation of my office having that flexibility is important in being able to provide services to our residents.”

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