City Issues Notices to Those Late Paying Property Taxes
Poor economic conditions, in Moose Jaw, were graphically demonstrated as Council approved the first step on taking tax title on 112 properties.
When tax arrears came up in the Finance Department’s last quarterly report, Councillor Brian Swanson pointed out that the large arrears were a sign that taxpayers could not afford ever-increasing property taxes and fees. Council was told that the reason for the level of tax arrears was the poor economy and property owners being unable to meet their financial obligations because of it.
The list is provided annually to Council for the City to proceed on taking possession of the properties. Last year 101 properties were submitted to Council for the first step of assuming title.
The properties are ones which have tax liens on them and after a set period still have 50 percent of the previous year’s tax levy.
The notice gives property owners six months to clear up outstanding property taxes before the City can take final proceedings to acquire the property.
It needs to be emphasized that despite the city moving forward in the third step to take title of a property, there are ways to prevent that from occurring. Things such as a payment plan and the Provincial Mediation Board help taxpayers pay their arrears and keep their properties.
Properties are only acquired by the City after “every possible attempt to collect those taxes” is made, said Brian Acker, Finance Director.
Properties acquired by the City are sold, with the proceeds of the sale going to pay off owing property taxes and any remainder going to the original property owner.
It should be noted that usually the City only acquires title to one or two properties annually.