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Commissioners Approve Treasurer's Plan to Take Over County Tax Foreclosures

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During its regular meeting on June 18, the Eaton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Eaton County Treasurer, Bob Robinson’s, plan for his  office to foreclose tax 
delinquent properties in Eaton County rather giving them to the State.  With consensus of the County Controller, John Fuentes, the action cooperatively reverses the county’s 1999 decision to let the Department of Treasury tax foreclose and auction Eaton County parcels.   Beginning in 2016, tax forfeited properties will be foreclosed by the treasurer, and auctions on those properties will be conducted locally.  With the exception of Livingston County, Eaton County remains the largest county in Michigan which gives its tax foreclosures to the State.

“We are taking control of our own land,” said Bob Robinson.  “We know our properties and land values better than the State of Michigan.  I am confident that managing tax auctions inside the County will generate more gainful auction sales, put more properties back on active tax rolls, and help drive property values up for everyone.  That’s good for our schools, businesses, and local communities.”

The ability to opt into tax foreclosure required state level legislation, and was part of a yearlong lobbying effort implemented by Treasurer Robinson.   The undertaking was supported by State Senator Rick Jones who sponsored Senate Bill 574 of 2013, to let counties take over their own foreclosures.  The Bill was signed into law by Governor Snyder on May 27. Public Act 132 of 2014 allows any of 12 counties which still surrender foreclosures to the State to opt into the foreclosure process.  Currently Iron and Kalkaska counties are expected to opt in with Eaton.

“Special thanks to Senator Jones for guiding us through the legislative process,” said Robinson.  “And to State Representatives Mike Callton, Theresa Abed, and Mike Shirkey who also sponsored and supported legislation on behalf of Eaton County.

Park ER 3“I’m proud to see Eaton County lead the way in this important economic initiative,” added Robinson.   “It’s certainly the biggest development for the treasurer’s office in decades.”

Tax foreclosure is a three year process that begins in March each year, when delinquent tax accounts are purchased from area townships, cities, and villages.  The county treasurer is then responsible for collecting delinquent property taxes.  More than $5.8 million in delinquent taxes are scheduled for collection in 2014.  If those delinquent taxes remain unpaid for 12 months, the property will be forfeited to the treasurer’s office in March, 2015, and foreclosure proceedings will begin.  If taxes are not paid by April 1, 2016, the property will foreclose and be sold at public auction.

 “It’s a tragic process I don’t take lightly,” said Robinson.  “But it’s a course of action I strongly feel needs to be handled locally, and gives us better opportunities to help folks keep their homes with our new foreclosure prevention initiatives.”

For more information on property tax foreclosure and foreclosure prevention, go to www.eatoncountytreasurer.org or call the treasurer’s office at (517) 543-4262.|

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