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Collection of $221K in taxes grim
PERU- Several citizens’ jaws dropped last week to learn that more than $220,000 in back taxes are owed to the town at present time, with $118,000 of that amount stemming from non-payment in 2011-2012 alone and the other $103,000 is combined for the years 2007-2010.
“At this point in time the town technically owns those properties that owe from 2007-2010,” noted Town Clerk Vera Parent. “But, the town is not in the business of property ownership or becoming landlords, so we can only continue to send notice.”
The town has sent out letters to the homeowners notifying them 30 days in advance of a lien being placed and then again when the lien is secured to the property. In the event that a homeowner wishes to sell the property, they would not be able to do so until the taxes are paid in full due to the tax lien.
“It’s an unfortunate situation,” stated Parent. “I know many of these people are struggling. They’re laid off, losing jobs and can’t keep food on the table. They are in dire straights.”
It was mentioned at the selectmen’s meeting on August 6 that anything over 10 acres would be considered a personal asset and the town could force the issue, but it was agreed that the town was in no position to take possession of the properties.
In other town business, citizens will now have the ease of paying their taxes or any other fees with the town by way of their credit/debit card. The town recently linked up to TRIO due to the many requests from citizens to be able to pay with a card, versus cash or check.
Each transaction will have a service fee attached, with Visa charging the most at 2.5 percent of the total transaction. All others will have a base fee of $1, but keep in mind that it could be more.
“I have the ability to let the person know how much of a fee they’re going to be charged,” noted Parent. “So, they do have the option to decline and pay with some other form of payment.”