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Taxing situation



With the hammer dropping, tax-delinquent property owners in Wayne County are rushing to pay their bills. Two months ago, there were 11,000 parcels in Wayne County threatened with foreclosure. By last week the number had fallen to 7,000 parcels that would be sold at auction if back taxes weren’t paid by March 31.

On Monday, the count had dropped to 5,689. Of that number, 4,575 were in Detroit.

Which means that two changes in state law — one that reduced the time it takes to foreclose on tax-delinquent property from five years to two, and another that handed the City of Detroit’s collection program over to Wayne County — are working.

But there are concerns. Michigan Legal Services went to City Council in late February with complaints from taxpayers who said they weren’t being properly notified of their delinquencies and pending foreclosures.

County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz says notifications are sent twice, initially by first-class mail and then by certified letter.

“We do that to assure the person gets it, and it is their responsibility to respond,” he says.

Wayne County Commis-sioner Bernard Parker points out that safeguards should be established because of the magnitude of the changeover and communication problems between the city and county. To that end, a public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. March 15 on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center to discuss the issue. Anyone experiencing problems with the tax man is encouraged to attend.

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