The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Gogebic treasurer works to reduce tax foreclosures

 

January 4, 2019



By RICHARD JENKINS

rjenkins@yourdailyglobe.com

Bessemer — With the calendar rolled over into January, Gogebic County Treasurer Lisa Hewitt is reaching out to those facing tax foreclosures in an attempt to remedy the situation.

“I’m committed to tackling the foreclosure crisis, that is why my office is willing to work with tax payers to avoid loss of property,” Hewitt said.

She said it was important to be proactive and there may be resources available to help people.

“The sooner you come in, the sooner we can get on top of things. Accidents happen, emergencies happen — life happens,” Hewitt said. “We just want to make sure our taxpayers are proactive so this doesn’t get too far.”

Properties face foreclosure after property taxes are delinquent for three years, according to Hewitt, meaning the foreclosures this year stem from the 2016 tax year.

“Those are the ones we are most concerned about, most concerned with our taxpayers getting information on and coming in to pay,” Hewitt said.

She said she is also working to eliminate the stigma around delinquent taxes that may be keeping people from taking care of the issue.

“We know emergencies come up, things come up. … Come in, talk to us,” Hewitt said.

Owners who have properties facing tax foreclosure, which Hewitt said is different from mortgage foreclosures, have until March 31 to pay or set up a plan to keep their properties.

The county had 55 foreclosures in 2018.

“We do have a high number here in Gogebic County, which is disconcerting to me,” Hewitt said, adding her goal is to keep properties on the tax roll — ideally with the original owner.

She said there are various programs that may be available for those facing foreclosures, she and her staff are available to help and a one-year extension may be possible for those with qualifying financial hardships.

“Poverty exemptions, hardship extensions or payment plans are available. I’m urging taxpayers to be proactive by contacting our office immediately,” Hewitt said.

Michigan law also provides totally disabled veterans with an exemptions from property taxes on their primary residences that can also extend to a spouse. An annual affidavit must be filed to apply for the exemption.

Payments can be made online and at the courthouse.

For additional information, contact Hewitt at 906-663-4517.

 
 

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