Greene County processing highest number of delinquent property tax cases ‘in decades’

August 30, 2023
Posted in News
August 30, 2023 veps

Greene County is in the middle of clearing up one of the highest number of delinquent property tax cases in its history, officials say, shrinking a decades-long backlog that may help older cities put more parcels back into productive use.

As of Friday, the county courts and treasurer’s office have 167 Greene County properties that are in the collection process or have completed it, some of which include multiple parcels. All told, the cases are worth about $1.5 million in back taxes.

The treasurer’s office is on pace to do 200 cases by the end of the year, Hagler said. Prior to 2023, the treasurer’s office typically processed 20 cases annually.

“Greene County as a whole does not have delinquency problem. There’s been a backlog for decades because really, there wasn’t a sense of urgency. We’re still very rural,” Hagler said. As COVID hit and the markets have taken off, properties that wouldn’t otherwise be developed or rehabbed, there’s now a market for that.”

Greene County has a tax delinquency rate of about 1.6%, Hagler said. The average rate for the state of Ohio is about 3%. However, the recent spur of foreclosure cases is due in part to making up for delays caused by the pandemic, and clearing up the preceding backlog.

“During the pandemic, the courts were shut down. COVID gave us about a 2-year hiatus,” Hagler said.

Most of the properties are concentrated in Xenia and Fairborn, the two oldest cities in Greene County. The red-hot housing market is another reason city and county leaders wish to place those properties back in productive use.

Not all delinquent properties are subject to foreclosures. Being delinquent on property taxes means the property owner is a year and a half behind on their taxes. Missing one or two tax payments isn’t enough to be declared delinquent.

Many taxpayers are able to pay off their tax debt by opting to participate in a payment plan, Hagler said. Others pay it off upon initial notice from the treasurer’s office.

If a case does go fully to the foreclosure process, the owner is notified through Greene County courts. The property then goes to a treasurer sale, where the selling price of the property includes the back taxes, assessments and court costs that are on it. Usually, the property doesn’t sell for that reason, Hagler said.

“If you’ve got $14,000, $15,000-plus of delinquent taxes, and the city’s weed mowing fees, they’re never going to sell,” Hagler previously told the Dayton Daily News. “Nobody’s going to pay $17,000 $15,000 for a piece of property. It’s just not worth it.”

Additionally, it’s unlikely that entire $1.5 million will be collected. Many of the properties are vacant or abandoned, in some cases because the property owner has died.

If the parcel doesn’t sell a second time, it’s forfeited to the state of Ohio, or the local municipality can acquire the property and petition the taxing authorities (the county, schools, etc.) to forgive the taxes on it so it can be put into productive use. Both Xenia and Fairborn have been proactive in pursuing these options, Hagler said.

If you suspect you might be behind on your property taxes, the treasurer’s office has staff who are dedicated to processing back taxes and helping residents stay in their homes.

“If you’re behind on your taxes, and you want to keep to your property, reach out to us. We have plans, we can work with you, and we want to keep you in your property,” Hagler said.

source: daytondailynewsdotcom