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Greater Napanee ‘clearing up’ hundreds of properties with tax debts

If 2020 was the year to pivot and adapt, 2021 seems to be the year to tie up loose ends – and that’s just what the Town of Greater Napanee has set out to do in dealing with overdue property taxes.

As of March 1, there were 210 Greater Napanee properties with outstanding tax debts, accounting for over $2.5million.

“Covid had nothing to do with (the situation),” said Paul Dowber, Town of Greater Napanee’s General Manager of Financial Services and Treasurer at a regular council meeting on March 23. “(The Town was) in this situation before.”

On Jan. 26, 2021, staff brought a report to council to “clear up” outstanding taxes on properties for 2020. According to the report, 76 properties were in the second and third year arrears with an outstanding balance of $450,000, which did not include penalties or interest.

As of March 1, 2021, after the first installment of interim billing took place, all outstanding balances bumped up a year. This meant that second year properties moved to third years and so on, which increased the properties with outstanding debts significantly. As of March 1, there was 85 second year arrears and 125 third year arrears; for a total of 210 properties. The outstanding taxes accounted for $2,524,080.

At the March 23 council meeting, Dowber told council 58 properties were registered for sale and five had payment plans registered. Dowber told council that the goal for 2021 is to resolve the remaining 147 outstanding debts though tax sale or financing agreements. Town staff plans to bring a year-end report to council in January 2022.

“It’s gone regularly smoothly, we haven’t had a lot of upset people,” Dowber told council on March 23. “The atmosphere has changed quite a bit. We’ve had a number of people sign up for payment plans.”

The Town is offering two-year payment plans for those looking to finance their debts. “In two years they must be paid up to zero,” Dowber explained to council, assuring them that long-term payment plans were not being entertained.

“We’ve had a number of people reach out for payment schedules, which hadn’t happened in the past,” Dowber told council.

Progress plans will be reported monthly to council during Dowber’s service area updates. Information will also be posted on the Town of Greater Napanee website though council meeting agendas, which can be found here: https://greaternapanee.civicweb.net/Portal/?_mid_=10535.

The next regular Greater Napanee council meeting takes place on April 13, 2021.

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