Business & Finance

North Salem to Foreclose on Tax-Delinquent Properties

742a24bd916d48616a7f_mini_magick20170907-19425-1gn5t2u.jpg
Town officials say it has been at least eight years since North Salem has initiated proceedings to foreclose on properties whose owners have fallen in arrears in tax payments.
742a24bd916d48616a7f_mini_magick20170907-19425-1gn5t2u.jpg

NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--The Town Board has begun property tax foreclosure proceedings against eight delinquent property owners in North Salem. 

“There are entities for whom we collect taxes and we have to pay that even if we haven’t received them,” Supervisor Warren Lucas said, meaning that if property owners are delinquent with their payments, the town is still responsible for paying the assessed amount.

If followed through, these foreclosure proceedings, also known as “in rem” proceedings, make it so a property can be taken by the municipality and then auctioned. The revenue from the sale is then used to satisfy the delinquent taxes. In order to be subject to in rem proceedings, homeowners have to be at least two years behind on their property taxes.

Sign Up for E-News

Lucas said it has been at least eight years since the town has entered such proceedings, and that in the past, the delinquent taxes are made worse by the delinquency fees, interest and penalties that accrue. 

He said 10 percent interest of the delinquent amount is tacked on annually in New York State.  

“They’re paying far more in penalties with the 10 percent compound than they are in taxes,” Lucas said.

That 10 percent penalty can make a debt become “onerous fast,” Lucas said, which is why the board intends to nip the issue in the bud now, rather than waiting for the debt to continue to grow.

“The people that haven’t paid for the last several years are becoming more delinquent and have bigger numbers to pay back,” he said. “What we’ve seen in the past is that when you let people get to the point where it becomes extremely onerous to pay back, it’s not helping them or the town.”

There are 16 properties total with delinquent property taxes, eight of which are subject to foreclosure in North Salem, he said.

Unlike other counties in New York, Lucas said Westchester does not conduct delinquent real estate property tax lien sales. That responsibility goes to the municipalities. 

“This is the only county in the state where the towns have to make everybody whole,” he added.” In Putnam, the county makes everybody whole; Southeast says ‘OK our taxes are $10 million, the county writes them a check for $10 million.’

At the Aug. 22 meeting, the board voted to commence in rem foreclosure proceedings, which simply entails notification of the property owners via mailed letters. The board hopes, however, that the proceedings don’t actually result in foreclosures. The hope is that people find a way to pay or finance their property taxes. According to members of the board, the method has proved effective in the past.

“It comes a point where you can’t ignore it anymore,” Councilman Martin Aronchick said. “This process seems to get a lot of people in compliance.”

The commencement of a foreclosure action does not necessarily mean that a home will be lost to foreclosure, and property owners have some options, according to Westchester County Clerk Timothy Idoni. 

“Filing a foreclosure action in the Westchester County Clerk’s office is the first step of a process, which could result in the loss of a home or building,” Idoni wrote on his website. “Many homeowners enter into a repayment plan, secure a modified loan, refinance with another lender or sell their home on their own to avoid foreclosure.”

Idoni also advised that those who receive a warning letter should reach out to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to obtain the name of a reputable counseling agency.

The board approved initiating in rem proceedings at the Aug. 22 meeting; however, they said it will take weeks to initiate the process. The letters will go out sometime in September, Lucas said. 


 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

Upcoming Events

Sat, January 27, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Wed, January 31

North Salem Tax Office, North Salem

North Salem School Taxes Second Half Due

Government

Sat, February 3, 10:00 AM

Jefferson Valley Mall , Yorktown Heights

Yorktown Indoor Farmers Market

Food & Drink Health & Wellness

Arctic Blast Purifies

Nothing like a bomb cyclone winter storm followed by days of bright sunshine while temperatures plunge into arctic cold to start the year off beautifully. 

The first day after the cyclone bomb I was out in the early morning watching to the east as dawn slid her rosy colored fingers upon the virgin snow. To the west, the near full-moon shone luminescent, still high in the lilac-gray sky a ...

For Journalists, Dangerous Days

I have recently learned that I am practicing a most dangerous profession, journalism, which took the lives of 81 reporters all over the world in 2017.

I learned about this danger to my life and health in an Associated Press News article printed in a small newspaper, The Monitor, which circulates in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

According to The Monitor’s annual “Kill ...

Timeless Holiday Tale

“A Newspaper Christmas,” by Herbert Geller, originally ran in our Dec. 22, 2016, edition. It’s a holiday favorite around here. Although it is a bit belated, we hope you enjoy it.

We were not Catholic or Protestant or anything but Jewish, but we always had a good time at Christmas. After all, who were the people who began to celebrate Christmas? They certainly were not ...

Time Management for Reaching New Year's Goals

As the year winds down just before New Year’s Eve, time seems to slow. Activities may be centered on the home and family and if you can plan it, you may have an hour or two to do some goal-setting for the year ahead. Judith, a colleague of mine, annually schedules a retreat on New Year’s weekend. It's great because it accomplishes two things: It allows her to measure where she has ...

Talkin' 'Bout Our Generations

People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)

—Peter Townshend (The Who)

I’ve become obsessed of late with generations. Well, what ...

A Post-Apocalyptic House Cleaning

I’m usually pretty good about keeping track of what’s in my fridge. But over the course of a few weeks, the food containers seem to multiply and take over. By the time I get around to realizing that some items have been in there too long, the contents of the containers way in the back of the refrigerator either look like a science experiment gone awry or a refrigerated toupee.

This ...

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Grudge

Contrary to what I generally tell people, the happiest moment of my life was not the day I got married, nor the final push when I gave birth to either of my two kids. It was the day a driver tailgated me relentlessly for five miles and then sped away… until he got pulled over by a state trooper.

Although I know it is better to forgive and forget, I am just not one of those people who is ...