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Delinquent tax list paints a sad picture of local economy

The local newspaper recently published a list of delinquent tax properties for our county, which painted a telling portrait of the local economy. The list, which takes up two thirds of a page and includes over 600 properties, wasn't just made up of individuals threatened with losing their homes; but instead filled with banks and multiple property owners.

Normally, the listing takes up less than half a page and reads like a phone book, with no name appearing more than once. This time, the listing had large clumps of the same name, with close to 30 property owners owing back taxes for more than four properties, and one couple owing taxes on 24 properties! Additionally the list included many banks, business and development groups, illustrating the sad reality facing our local economy. Had the list also included the manufactured homes that are also delinquent, it would have easily spilled onto a second page!

While there's no way to know exactly why these individuals own all of these properties, assuming that they are rentals or properties to be flipped isn't out of the question. As the local credit opportunities dried up and businesses began closing up their doors, property owners found their buyers disappearing, and apparently stopped paying their taxes. Owners of these properties have 28 days to pay up before the county forecloses on them, dumping an additional 600 foreclosures onto our already crowded real estate market.

Despite my desire to purchase a local house for peanuts; the number of foreclosures due to delinquent real estate tax deeply concerns me. If only half of these properties enter foreclosure the loss of tax revenue and additional empty homes will be a further drain our city and county revenues as well as their already stretched resources. Unfortunately, there seems to be no easy solution to the problem nor an end in sight.

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