Rockland collects 95% of back taxes; 16 non-residential properties to be auctioned

PRESS RELEASE — Rockland County has collected 95 percent of the back taxes owed by owners of non-residential properties who failed for years to pay, County Executive Ed Day announced last week.

The county has collected $2.65 million in back taxes since beginning the aggressive push last spring. An auction will start tomorrow (Jan. 19) to sell 16 properties belonging to owners who still refused to pay, he said.

“I said we would take strong action including foreclosure to get the money that these property owners owe,” he said. “I’m happy to report that the majority of property owners have paid up.”

Day made the announcement standing in front of a small building at 137 North Main St., in Spring Valley, that topped the list of remaining non-residential tax deadbeats with an outstanding bill of $37,196.

The property is one of the 16 that will be auctioned at 7 p.m., Jan. 19, in the Rockland County Legislative Chamber, 11 New Hempstead Road, New City.

“Foreclosure was not what we wanted to do,” Day said. “We have no interest owning a grocery store or abandoned building.”

Almost all property owners have either paid their bill or entered into installment plans with the county. The county made every effort to work with the owners and gave them plenty of notice. In fact, some owners paid up as late as last Tuesday.

The aggressive move to collect back taxes from non-residential owners began last spring at the Patrick Farm property in Ramapo, where the owners had an outstanding tax bill of nearly $400,000. Just days after the county executive announced that the action, the owners paid up.

The owner of a Valley Cottage property also paid an $80,000 outstanding tax bill after Day announced in the fall that the county was starting foreclosure proceedings. “We got their attention,” he said. “We will no longer allow owners of non-residential properties to go for years without paying their taxes.”

Of the 124 original parcels that owed back taxes, the owners of all but 16, have either paid up or entered into installment plans. Five properties were removed from the list due to environmental concerns.

The auction seeks to raise a minimum of $134,959 that is owed in back taxes. The county was able to collect 95 percent of the outstanding taxes on these properties – $2.65 million.

“We said we wanted the taxes that we are owed,” Day said. “As I’ve said before – the same rules apply to everyone.”

“No one likes to pay taxes. But when someone doesn’t pay their share of property taxes, someone else’s tax bill goes up,” he said. “Meanwhile, the person not paying is getting the same services as everyone else who does pay.”

The county will continue to take aggressive action against property owners who do not pay their taxes, Day said.

By the Numbers:

Total delinquent taxes when action started: $2,952,015.91
($166,983 not considered for foreclosure due to environmental concerns)
Total delinquent taxes sought: $2,785,032.91
Total paid or in installment plans: $2,650,073.78 (95 percent)
Total being foreclosed: $134,959.13 (5 percent)

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