By Holly Moon, Newaygo County Treasurer
After all the official notifications, personal visits and publications to notify property owners that are in jeopardy of tax foreclosure have been exhausted, County Treasurers across the State are then left with the daunting task of foreclosing on April 1, 2019 as required by law. The properties in jeopardy of foreclosure this year are those with unpaid 2016 taxes. Thankfully, the number of parcels you saw in the December publication is dramatically lower by the final foreclosure date of April 1, 2019. (The statutory foreclosure date of March 31 falls on a weekend this year allowing taxpayers one more day to save their property.)
Some of your readers might be curious how this happens. Each year approximately 6,000 parcels are returned delinquent (unpaid) from the local townships, cities, and village to the Newaygo County Treasurer. In Newaygo County the Treasurer purchases these delinquent taxes from the local townships, cities, and village using the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund and subsequently begins the task of collecting them. The property owners of parcels advertised in December last year have missed property tax payments dating from 2016 forward, prompting the foreclosure process mandated by the State and ordered by the court.
Last year the Circuit Court Judge ruled to give 55 property owners extensions beyond the March 31 deadline. County Treasurers do not want to take anyone’s property, but taxes must be paid. Our job as County Treasurers is to collect taxes not to foreclose on properties. However, after 3 years the law mandates foreclosure, if the taxes remain unpaid. If you or someone you know needs an extension, please contact my Office immediately. The Circuit Court hearing with Judge Springstead is February 26 to grant extensions. There’s no time to waste….requests must be received prior to this date! Of the 55 extensions awarded last year, 90+% were paid and saved from foreclosure. This is a wonderful example of our success in working together with our taxpayers in Newaygo County. Taxpayers receiving extensions will all be provided a payment plan to continue paying on their 2017 delinquent taxes. Extensions are limited and are not intended to be a solution. They are a “hand up” toward bringing their delinquent taxes current.
The problem of foreclosure continues to demand urgent attention, and we recognize the need to help families struggling with this issue. As County Treasurer I have partnered with StepForward Michigan (Stepforwardmichigan.org), TrueNorth’s Center for Non-profit Housing, (CNH), LOVE, Inc., the Newaygo County Department of Human Services, Five Cap, Inc., and the County’s Veteran’s Affairs Officers to help those eligible for assistance through their programs. Our overarching goal is to help families understand the tax foreclosure process and to assist citizens in developing a solution to save their property.
We include information sheets with our delinquent tax notices to encourage taxpayers to set up a payment plan early. We also provide them with information about the programs and services available in our County and the contact phone numbers. We educate taxpayers to be sure they have a Principal Residence Exemption, and provide information on how to request a Hardship Exemption from the local units. Tax foreclosure is final…there is no redemption period after April 1 this year!
If you are reading this and need assistance, or know someone who would benefit from a payment plan, please call us at the Newaygo County Treasurer’s Office: (231) 689-7230. My staff and I would be happy to help. If you would like to review the timelines for tax foreclosure and read our Frequently Asked Questions, please visit: www.countyofnewaygo.com/countytreasurer.aspx for additional tax foreclosure information.
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