Increase in tax delinquencies in New Castle

July 25, 2008
by Ann Marie Fallon

New Castle and Westchester County closed their tax books for the 2007 tax year on June 30, 2008.

The books for the 2007 – 2008 school year taxes closed as well on that date. For this past tax year, 86 property owners in New Castle were delinquent on some portion of their county, town or school taxes.

Under its usual procedures, the New Castle town clerk’s office has imposed a lien on each delinquent property and filed a record of each lien with the Westchester County Clerk’s office, the recording agency for all liens. Property subject to a tax lien cannot be sold until the lien is satisfied by the property owner.

According to New Castle Town Clerk and Receiver of Taxes Jill Simon Shapiro, the number of tax liens this year is the same number as last year. However, compared to the 58 delinquencies in the 2005 county and town tax year and 2005-2006 school tax year, this is a 49 percent increase in the total number of delinquencies over two years. The delinquent property owners owe a total of $988,698.30 for this year.

This amount reflects taxes due not only to the town and county, but also to the school districts that lie in within the town. Simon Shapiro stated, “[t]he town has to make these tax warrants whole, [meaning] that they must provide the monies owed to these entities [the county and the school district]. The town pays these delinquencies from money in the town’s general fund.”

Each year, aside from mailing the actual tax bills, the town also sends out quarterly notices to homeowners whose taxes are delinquent. According to Simon Shapiro, “A number of people have come into my office upset about their inability to pay their taxes. These are people who are not accustomed to paying their bills late.” Once the county clerk officially records the lien, the town is able to establish a payment schedule to assist delinquent residents in paying off their debt. Currently the town of New Castle is owed $1,490,595.40 from tax liens dating back to 1999.

On June 20, 2008, reported that Summit Greenfield, the owner of the Readers Digest property, was in arrears on its April 30 state and county tax bill. Summit Greenfield is now current on its taxes, having paid the outstanding amount of $376,223.96 in taxes plus $18,000 in penalties on June 26, 2008.