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Rockland County Speeds Up Tax Delinquency Foreclosures

Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Attorney Thomas Humbach announced they are cracking down on property owners who owe back taxes.
Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Attorney Thomas Humbach announced they are cracking down on property owners who owe back taxes. Photo Credit: Rockland County Government/Facebook

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Attorney Thomas Humbach recently unveiled a new effort to expedite the foreclosure process for nonresidential tax delinquent properties that are confirmed to be vacant.

The new policy recognizes that the county is permitted to legally foreclose on land parcels that owe real property taxes in two years instead of three years. The new policy also allows the county to seek foreclosure against property owners who breach pre-arranged installment payment agreements in a timely fashion.

"This new policy will help to alleviate the financial burden that these properties impose on our taxpayers," said Day. "Starting this week, we will move aggressively on foreclosures when they become ripe and not delay unnecessarily."

Day made the announcement outside the 208-acre Patrick Farm property in Ramapo, the largest nonresidential tax delinquent property in the county. Owned by Scenic Development LLC, the farm includes over 150 acres, and the owner owes more than $350,000 of tax debt. At this time, this amount is anticipated to rise to $500,000 or more when the county receives its 2016 tax transfer from the town of Ramapo within the next few weeks, Day said.

Humbach has identified 125 nonresidential tax delinquent properties, from Stony Point to Sparkill to Suffern that owe more than $3.3 million to Rockland County.

"This effort is about turning liabilities into assets," said Humbach. "Controlling the county's costs involves seeking payment from tax debtors. The county is making every effort to collect money to maintain the funding needed to provide the services the taxpayers demand."

Rockland 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. As in most counties, cities and towns, tax revenue is Rockland's largest source of income.

Day said he is is frustrated that many property owners who owe back taxes on nonresidential properties have not made any attempt to satisfy their obligations. "As a taxpayer and county leader, this angers me," Day said.

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