By Wayne County Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz
As part of our expanded effort to educate and reach out to Wayne County residents about property tax issues during these extraordinarily tough economic times, I am asking taxpayers who are experiencing difficulty trying to pay their delinquent property taxes for 2007 and earlier years to make every effort to contact our office.
Do not assume that it’s already too late. At least give us a chance to help you keep your property.
The theme of this year’s outreach campaign is “Let’s Talk,” which simply means we don’t want delinquent taxpayers to panic, or to stick their heads in the sand and hope this all goes away. The best way for them to prevent losing their property to tax foreclosure is to come in and see us. Maybe there’s something we can do. We can’t guarantee that everyone who comes to see us will be able to save their property, because the sad fact is that some people simply will not be able to retain ownership. However, we will do all that we can to advise you of all your options.
In November 2007, the first year the State-mandated listing of delinquent parcels was placed in three consecutive Sunday editions of the Detroit News and Free Press, the total number of delinquent parcels listed was 18,110.
Several news reports expressed shock and dismay that the problem was so serious. One year later, in November 2008, the total number of delinquent Wayne County parcels listed came to 21,269 – an increase of 18 percent. In last year’s Sunday supplement listing, there were more than 23,000 delinquent properties listed.
As a means of meeting this challenge I am once again launching a massive educational/informational campaign designed to alert delinquent taxpayers to the options we have available to help them resolve their property tax issues. Those with delinquent 2007 taxes can apply for a substantial hardship extension, which would grant them up to an additional year to pay off those taxes.
The other option is to sign a payment agreement which requires the taxpayer to pay 20 percent of the delinquency by the end of March, another 20 percent by the end of May, another 20 percent by the end of August, and the remaining balance by the end of 2010. More information about these two programs can be found on our website at www.treasurer.waynecounty.com, or by calling our Taxpayer Assistance Department at (313) 224-6105.
It’s never too late to help us help you. So before you decide to throw up your hands in despair, first take a deep breath.
Now let’s talk.
(Wayne County property taxpayers, please note that the response to the Treasurer’s taxpayer assistance outreach has been overwhelming. All inquiries, submitted hardship applications and payment arrangements are being processed as quickly as possible.
If you have contacted the Treasurer’s Office and have not received a return call, don’t worry, full consideration will be given to every taxpayer who has requested assistance.
To contact the Wayne County Treasurer’s Taxpayer Assistance Department call
313-224-6105 or log on to www.treasurer.waynecounty.com. )