In Wayne County, after property taxes go unpaid for three years, the property owner may lose their home. Currently, 7,000 properties are at risk of foreclosure countywide. On June 5- 6, 2019, hundreds of taxpayers gathered each day at the Wayne County Treasurer's Office (WCTO) to pay delinquent property taxes before the tax foreclosure deadline.
In an effort to reduce foreclosures, the WCTO offers payment plans for those who are struggling to pay their property taxes. Nearly 30,000 taxpayers are enrolled in the payment plans for their property taxes as of this spring. Property tax foreclosures in Wayne County have dropped by 88 percent since 2015, and the City of Detroit levels are at their lowest point since 2008.
The WCTO interviewed a few local residents to ask about their experience. Check out the interviews below:
LaShella Savage- Warren, MI
Q: What brings you in today?
A: My mom is behind with her taxes and we are here to set up some arrangements to prevent foreclosure.
Q: How did she get behind on her taxes?
A: Well she's currently not working because of the injuries and because she is disabled and older. She doesn't have any steady source of income coming in.
Q: Are you able to get onto a payment plan?
A: We have been able to get on a payment plan before. But because her income is not steady, she fell behind. So with it falling behind, it's in threat of foreclosure again. So they did offer us to make a payment on the past taxes to re-enter into a new payment plan.
Q: How would you say your experience was with the Treasurer's Office? Were you able to accomplish your goals?
A: Surprisingly, Yes. They were a lot nicer than what I thought it would be. It wasn't very difficult. They were very accommodating and pretty sympathetic and empathetic to the situation. So it was a pleasant experience and we were able to get our goals accomplished.
Q: Overall are you satisfied with the payment plans?
A: Overall I am very satisfied with the payment plans. They did make it a reasonable amount to pay monthly. If it were somebody who was able to work and had an income, it would have been very doable. It just became a strain only because this particular person, which is my mom, has minimum to no income. So that's what made it a strain. But as far as setting up the arrangements, and making it where it is actually doable, they did make that possible.
Edythe Ford -Detroit
Q: What brings you into the office today?
A: To get my tax bill straightened out and to get into a payment arrangement.
Q: How would you describe your experience so far?
A: It's crowded, but I expected it to be. I help my neighbors get down here to make arrangements for their taxes. I have never had an experience where people weren't nice to me down here. Just like today, everybody is nice. We are sitting and waiting in this nice place. I have no complaints.
Q: How is the Treasurer's Office doing overall?
A: I moved back to my childhood home in 2012. From then to now, it's like night and day. They're doing a great job for me. When you come there, whatever kind of person, or whatever kind of ethnic background, religious background, you have person down there, so you can feel comfortable. They're pretty good with giving you information, which has always been a problem in Detroit. Government workers don't like to explain things to you or give you information, but it's not like that down here in that office.
Robert L. Thomas Jr. - Detroit, MI
Q: What brings you into the office today?
A: I was here today to get on the five year tax program to save my house. I was able to get on. The reason for me needing to get on that program is because I am disabled now and I am in a wheelchair and the taxes just got out of hand for me.
Q: In what ways is this program going to help you?
A: This program is really helping me because instead of me having to pay a few thousand dollars, I am only paying $317 today and $95 each month before the 22nd and I am all set
Q: How would you describe your experience in the Treasurer's office?
A: My experience overall is a 10 out of 10. The reasons being that I was brought in and helped to get upstairs. Then I went to the handicapped window and I was very next person in line and I was in and out of here within like 45 minutes.
Q: What is one thing that the Treasurer's office is doing well? What is one way that they can improve?A: They are doing well with helping people to get on good programs.
The Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency was also available on site to assist residents who are struggling with their finances. If you would like to get assistance from Wayne Metropolitan Community Action agency, they can be reached at (313) 388-9799.
If you need assistance from us, contact our office today. We're here to help - Visit our office at 400 Monroe Street, 5th Floor Detroit, MI 48226. Call (313) 224-5990 or email Taxinfo@WayneCounty.com.