Banking & Finance, Government, and Real Estate

Kent County and Grand Rapids manage property tax books

March 19, 2013
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In a somewhat unusual situation, both Grand Rapids and Kent County commissioners will be dealing with property taxes on the same day — Tuesday — but at vastly different levels.

City Treasurer Al Mooney will ask city commissioners to strike $19,325 worth of unpaid property taxes from the city’s 2007 tax roll. Those uncollected payments come from 270 businesses that have closed, gone into bankruptcy, been sold, moved out of the city or the owner has died. And in some cases, the amounts owed are just too small to pursue.

The largest single amount of back taxes owed that will likely be stricken is $1,202 and that delinquent payment carries a penalty of $931. The smallest amount owed is 86 cents, which has a late-payment penalty of 58 cents.

At the same time and just a few steps south of City Hall, county commissioners will likely agree to a request from County Treasurer Ken Parrish and allow his office to establish the annual delinquent tax revolving fund. This year’s amount is not to exceed $35 million.

The office borrows those dollars on a short-term basis to pay the county’s cities, townships and villages the amount of property tax revenue each is due from residents and businesses that haven’t paid their tax bills and their properties are going into tax foreclosure. The county treasurer can charge those units an administrative fee to cover its costs for making the municipalities whole on their delinquent taxes.

Parrish estimated there will be about 300 properties in the county that will be on the tax-foreclosure list after April 1. There were 309 on the list last year. Also last year, the delinquent fund was $28.5 million.

City commissioners will vote today on whether to authorize the county and the Kent County Land Bank Authority to monitor all the vacant and foreclosed properties in Grand Rapids.

“While the city has enjoyed a good working relationship with the county in this area, the creation of the Kent County Land Bank Authority provides an opportunity to improve property monitoring and maintenance responses,” wrote Connie Bohatch, managing director of community services for the city, in a memo to commissioners.

Should commissioners approve the request the land bank will inspect each property every 30 days.

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