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politics

Rockland County Exec Says 'We Want The Taxes That Are Owed To The County'

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Thomas Dillon, Rockland County Title Examiner stand with the delinquent property on Kings Highway in Valley Cottage in the background.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and Thomas Dillon, Rockland County Title Examiner stand with the delinquent property on Kings Highway in Valley Cottage in the background. Photo Credit: Jane Lerner

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Rockland County's get tough on delinquent taxpayer's effort has paid off with more than $2.4 million of the $2.9 million owed the county collected since the effort began in early spring.

That's 81 percent of delinquent taxes on non-residential properties since beginning the enforcement campaign, Rockland County Executive Ed Day said today while standing outside of a property at 471 Kings Highway on Valley Cottage that tops the list of remaining scofflaws with an unpaid tax bill of $79,822.26.

“Collecting 81 percent is what we call a rousing success,” Day said. “We sent a message to these property owners that they either have to pay up or they will lose their property. Apparently, they got the message. No one likes to pay taxes. We get it. But when someone doesn’t pay their share of property taxes, someone else’s tax bill goes up.”

The county has begun foreclosure proceedings on the Kings Highway property, as well as 29 other non-residential parcels.

By the numbers:
  • Total paid or in installment plans: $2,406,276 (81%)
  • Not being foreclosed: $166,983 (6%)
  • Total being foreclosed: $378,756 (13%)
  • Total delinquent taxes when action started: $2,952,016

The enforcement effort calls for the county to take action on non-residential properties that are two years behind on its taxes. Previously, the county waited three years before starting to foreclosure on commercial and vacant parcels.

A total of 124 properties were identified by the county as owing taxes. Owners of all but 34 of those properties either paid their bill in full or entered into installment plans with the county to pay up.

The county has started foreclosure proceedings in state Supreme Court in Rockland on 29 properties. Day said numerous attempts were made to reach out to the property owners to give them an opportunity to pay the bill or create an installment plan. Five additional properties that owe taxes are not on the foreclosure list because they have environmental or other issues that could prove costly to taxpayers.

“We never want to foreclose on anyone’s property,” Day said. “We want the taxes that are owed to the county.”

The county relies on property tax revenue to fund public health programs, highway maintenance, fire and emergency response equipment and many other critical services residents and business owners depend on.

The county will sell the foreclosed properties. Several parcels of land have been identified as possibly being suitable for open space.

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