CR council goes after overdue taxes
City staff will provide some local property owners in Clarence-Rockland, who are overdue on their taxes, with one more option to clear their accounts and avoid a tax sale situation.
Clarence-Rockland council approved Bylaw 2017-21, during its Feb. 6 regular session.
The bylaw provides administration and finance department staff with a new tax administration policy to try and settle some overdue property tax accounts.
The policy provides City Hall with a termpayment option, for property tax debtors, of up to a maximum of five years for clearing their overdue accounts. Property owners who accept this option are also required to maintain their regular annual property tax payments.
Counc. Mario Zanth wondered if even the time-payment option would work for some overdue accounts.
“I think, when we get to accounts that are that far behind,” he said, “I think it’s too late.”
Coun. Zanth suggested there should be a “threshold point” for an overdue account, where the five-year repayment plan was not considered a viable option and city staff would move on to the tax sale process instead.
Finance director Robert Kehoe told council that the five-year repayment plan is another option that the City can consider for dealing with some overdue accounts.
He noted that City staff have sent out regular notices to all of the overdue account holders without success.
“Some of them are not getting the message,” Kehoe said.
He also noted that right now overdue property tax accounts are hit every months with a 1.5 per cent late-penalty charge, which adds up to 15 per cent in accumulated interest on the account at the end of the year.
It would be cheaper, he observed, for overdue account holders to take out a bank loan at a lower rate of interest to clear their overdue tax bills rather than continue to pay the monthly arrears charge.
Kehoe also noted that the overdue accounts file includes a mix of residential and commercial property holders.
“We’ve got to offer a door to these people,” said mayor Guy Desjardins, regarding the overdue tax debt situation.
“I like the fact that they still have an option,” said Coun. Carl Grimard.
Le personnel de la Cité de Clarence-Rockland offrira aux propriétaires dont les comptes d’impôt foncier sont en souffrance une option de plus pour régler leurs dettes