NEW CITY, NY — Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Attorney Thomas Humbach this week unveiled a new effort to expedite the foreclosure process for non-residential tax delinquent properties that are confirmed to be vacant.
The new policy allows the county to legally foreclose on landparcels that owe real property taxes in two years instead of three years, the minimum amount of time allowed under state law. The new policy also allows the county to seek foreclosure against property owners who breach pre-arranged installment payment agreements in a timely fashion. Residential homeowners remain under the province of the county’s preexisting three-year rule.
“This new policy will help to alleviate the financial burden that these properties impose on our taxpayers,” said County Executive Day. “Starting this week,we will move aggressively on foreclosures when they become ripe, and not delay unnecessarily.”
County Executive Day made the announcement outside the 208-acre Patrick Farm property in Ramapo, the largest non-residential tax delinquent property in Rockland. Scenic Development, LLC., which owns the Patrick Farm parcels totaling over 150 acres, owes more than $350,000 of tax debt. At this time, this amount is anticipated to rise to $500,000 or more when the county receives its 2016 tax transfer from the Town of Ramapo within the next few weeks.
Working with Rockland’s Department of Finance, County Attorney Humbach has
identified 125 non-residential tax delinquent properties in the entire county which owe more than $3.3 million to Rockland County.
“This effort is about turning liabilities into assets,” said County Attorney Humbach. “Controlling the County’s costs involves seeking payment from tax debtors. The county is making every effort to collect money to maintain the funding needed to provide the services the taxpayers demand.”
Under the state law, the county is required to cover any gaps in local government budgets due to unpaid commercial and residential property taxes, Finance Commissioner Stephen DeGroat. Thus, Rockland is the entity with the authority to foreclose on same properties.
While many Rocklanders are hoping the Patrick Farms Property goes to foreclosure, one county official confided that it’s most likely that the owners simply pay what they owe so that the Patrick Farms development project is not scuttled. The parcels the county opened the foreclosure process on represent about 75 – 80 percent of the proposed Patricks Farm development, a 479-unit development to be built on 197 acres of property.
The project, expected to house mostly Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, is widely despised amongst residents in the area, and is being fought in court by a group call Ramapo Organized for Sustainability and a Safe Aquifer. ROSSA said the foreclosure action does not affect their Article 78 filing at this point.
Visit RocklandGov.com for a complete listing of non-residential tax delinquent properties in Rockland County.