Skip to comments.County Takes Michigan Woman's Property Over $7 Late Fee
Posted on 06/29/2016 9:47:32 AM PDT by MichCapCon
A vacant lot owned by a Jackson woman was foreclosed by Hillsdale County because she failed to pay a $7 late fee on her property taxes.
A Freedom of Information Act request found that Pam Baker, a Jackson resident, owed Hillsdale County $7.70 in interest and late fees for delinquent taxes from 2013 on land she owned near Lake LeAnn in Somerset Township.
The 2013 taxes on the property, which she owned since 2000, were due on Feb. 14, 2014. Baker says she paid her taxes two weeks late because she was in a car crash seven days before the due date.
Hillsdale County Treasurer Gary Leininger confirmed that Baker paid her taxes, albeit late. He said Baker likely paid the taxes to the township where the property is located, and then the township treasurer turned the payment over to the county treasurer, which is responsible for collecting delinquent taxes.
Baker paid $161.29 on March 18, 2014, according to Leininger. The $7.70 was, he said, a balance due from interest and a four percent late fee.
Thats standard operating procedure for county treasurers all over the state, Leininger explained. She would have received a paid receipt, but it clearly showed it was a partial payment and there was a balance due."
Leininger said the receipt would have shown a balance of less than $10 and Baker never responded.
Baker claims she didnt receive any notices stating that a failure to pay the late fee would result in a forfeiture of the property. Bakers property was forfeited on March 1, 2015. According to documents included in the FOIA, a notice of judgement of foreclosure was issued Feb. 26, 2016, which stated the foreclosure would become final on March 31, 2016.
Baker said she called the county clerk to find out what she owed on the property, and thats when she found out it had already been foreclosed.
I called there and couldnt believe my property was foreclosed, she said. I couldnt believe it. I didnt receive anything.
I was just calling to see what I owe, but I didnt know what it was for, she said. I never signed anything.
Leininger disputed Bakers claim that she did not receive any notifications. Documents received from the FOIA request show that Hillsdale County sent delinquent tax notices in 2014, postmarked June 1 and Sept. 1, to Baker's home address in Jackson. The notices said she owed $7.70. If she paid after Aug. 31, the fee would go up to $9.16. The second notice stated the fee would go up to $24.39 if the bill were paid after Nov. 30.
Documents also show that the county sent a notice of forfeiture to Bakers Jackson residence on June 30, 2015, through certified mail. Tracking information indicates that the mail was not signed for, so a notice was left at Bakers home and the mail was returned to the Hillsdale County treasurer's office.
The county also posted a notice on the Somerset Township lot and published notices in the Hillsdale Daily News three weeks in a row in January 2016. But Baker said she rarely visited the property, which is why she never saw any notices posted there, and she doesnt receive the Hillsdale Daily News.
The thing that gets me is, I have a phone number and they know what it is, she said. Why didnt someone call me?
I had a 'for sale' sign on the property with my phone number on it, she added.
Leininger, who sent an agent to post a notice on the property on Jan. 15, 2016, said county treasurers are not required by law to call delinquent taxpayers, nor did the county know Bakers phone number.
He also said the last time the county heard from Baker, who has not paid her 2014 or 2015 property taxes, was March 18, 2014, when the county processed her payment on the delinquent 2013 taxes, absent the interest and late fee. We never heard from her since, until after the foreclosure was final, he said.
In my view, the lady doesnt have a leg to stand on, Leininger said.
Michigan Capitol Confidential sent the FOIA request to Hillsdale County on April 7, 2016, but did not receive the requested documents until June 6, despite several follow-ups. State law allows for up to 15 business days for a response, but because of a lack of clarity in the statute, some public entities take much longer.
She does not have a leg to stand on but paid most of the taxes in good faith? Fcking idiots. They deserve all the illegal muslim immigrants not paying taxes to destroy their county. Because it is with attitudes like these that people lose faith in real estate and dealing with their government
The bill due July 1 showed up at home a couple of days ago, but the late payment fee kicks in for payments made after August 14th (or so, as I recall)
In my former employment as a Public Works Director, we had on several occasions had to notify residents of projects that they may need to move their vehicles off the street or that may impact their property.
I would have people come to me or to the City Council saying they were never notified. When questioned I would respond that we followed code and placed the notice under the windshield wiper and on their front door knob if no one answered the door when we came knocking.
Their responses were that they don’t use the front door or drive so they never saw it.
She didn’t pay her 2014 or 2105 property taxes, either.
If there is any justice in the world, one of his buddies will snap it up for a song and then discover a major toxic waste dump right in the middle of the property.
It’s her responsibility to ensure that taxes and fees are up to date. I don’t feel sorry for her especially since she’s had multiple years to fix her delinquency.
Precisely why I make my property tax payment at the treasurer’s office, in person, twice a year and file my receipt away for future reference, if needed. I don’t trust government lackeys to do anything right.
You sure do like socialist rather than free societies.
I’m reminded of those that “devour widows’ houses”, but these leftists don’t even bother with prayer.
He is a sociopath piece of ***. I wonder what the land was worth. they should call the person once. it’s documented proof and it’s the right thing to do.
Rules are rules. Follow the rules. Or elect reps to repeal the rules or those creating rules. If you don’t like the rules, nobody is forcing you to stay. Simple personal responsibility.
She was expecting tax payers to subsidize her unpaid taxes. Ain’t gonna happen. Pay your own bill or face the rules.
If you don’t like property taxes , elect legislatures to repeal or lower them. Or else, you are a freeloader if you expect other tax payers to absorb your non payment.
You sure do like irresponsible, free-loading citizens.
Why not serve her personally with a legal notice?
Such aggressive action taken over a minor amount of money is going to have a negative effect on property valuations overall. People aren’t going to like the possibility of losing their property over a late fee with no notification. A less draconian way to ensure collection would be a tax lien on the property.
Still think you live in a free country and actually own your property? Think again, suckah.
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