Mayor Amicone Launches Effort to Collect Taxes from Seriously Delinquent Property Owners
Yonkers, NY, September 1, 2010 — In a new program announced this week by Mayor Phil Amicone, the city is redoubling its efforts to collect millions in back property taxes from business and home-owners who haven't paid their taxes over the course of many years.
"Property taxes help pay for the services that keep Yonkers safe and up-and-running, and every property owner in this city has a responsibility to their fellow residents to pay their fair share. Police, fire protection, sanitation, parks and schools are all funded largely through the property tax. And when people use these services but don't pay for them year after year, they're cheating everyone else who pays their fair share," Mayor Phil Amicone explained.
He continued, "We realize it's a tough economy. Some people have lost their jobs and may be having trouble paying their recent property taxes. We have payment programs for people in that situation, and they are not who we're after. Rather, we are sending a message to people who have developed a clear pattern over several years, refusing to pay their fair share. Pay up, or we will take you to court."The program announced by the mayor represents a different approach by the city against tax deadbeats.
To this point, the city has made regular attempts to collect on back taxes by conducting annual sales of tax liens that bring in revenue to offset unpaid property taxes. But Mayor Amicone said the sale of tax liens hasn't ended the problem of systemic abusers who refuse to pay over a number of years.
A more permanent and aggressive approach is a long-term, citywide effort to bring all tax bills current and will focus on the prosecution of foreclosure proceedings against tax deadbeats all over the city.
Mayor Amicone said, "It will take time and resources to prosecute tax deadbeats. But in these tough economic times, we can't afford to let people cheat the system and place an additional burden on people who pay their bills. We want the message to get out. If you're behind on your taxes, you must come forward; you can't hide and hope the problem goes away. The city will work with people who come forward. But those who do not come forward run the very real risk of losing their property."To help implement the strategy, the city retained outside counsel several months ago to prosecute a test foreclosure case against one of the most delinquent taxpayers, with the ultimate plan of instituting similar proceedings citywide if the case was successful.
The case is against the landowner of 833 & 843 Nepperhan Avenue who owes more than $1.8 million in back taxes, penalties and interest over a period of many years despite they city's attempts to collect. Several corporate entities are listed at those addresses.
The city recently won a motion for summary judgment in this case, which is still pending in court. The judge in the case has already agreed that the owner is responsible for paying those back taxes and could ultimately lose his property to foreclosure.
Since then, the city has initiated similar actions against several other tax deadbeats, and, just last month, retained the services of another outside law firm with a solid record of prosecuting similar tax cases in Greenburgh and Mount Vernon to help orchestrate foreclosure proceedings citywide.
"Unpaid property taxes are a real problem for Yonkers and for other cities, but we've been trying to fix the problem with a band aid. This new approach is a real solution that will help us ensure equal tax fairness across the city. We may never be one hundred percent current, with every taxpayer fully paid up. But this will at least give us a way to target chronic abusers who refuse to pay their fair share," Amicone concluded
SOURCE: Press Release