Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

March 22, 2016
Contact: Scott Salotto (845) 638-5645


New Policy Turns Liabilities Into Assets For County

NEW CITY, NY -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Attorney Thomas Humbach today unveiled a new effort to expedite the foreclosure process for non-residential tax delinquent properties that are confirmed to be vacant. The new policy recognizes that the County is permitted to legally foreclose on land parcels that owe real property taxes in two years instead of three years. The new policy also allows the County to seek foreclosure against property owners who breach pre-arranged installment payment agreements in a timely fashion.

"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 today's 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, from Stony Point to Sparkill to Suffern, 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."

Properties that have accrued delinquent taxes have negative spillover effects that impact neighboring properties and, when concentrated, entire communities. Research links foreclosed, vacant, and abandoned properties with reduced property values, increased crime, increased risk to public health and welfare and increased costs for municipal governments.

"Today we send a clear message to delinquent property owners that my Administration will seek out money owed to the County of Rockland with vigor and intent using new and innovative approaches," said Day. "As we work every day to restore the County's fiscal health, we expect this effort to generate much-needed dollars."

Rockland County relies on property tax revenue to fund public health programs, highway maintenance, fire and emergency response equipment and many other critical services residents and business owners depend on. As in most counties, cities and towns, tax revenue is Rockland's largest source of income.

Day acknowledged Department of Finance Commissioner Stephen DeGroat and his team for their diligence in collecting back taxes. In fact, back tax collections are at record highs.

Despite this, Day is frustrated that many property owners who owe back taxes on non-residential properties have not made any attempt to satisfy their obligations. "As a taxpayer and county leader, this angers me," Day said. "Whether it's $5 or $500,000, Rockland County counts on that money. Our Finance Department will continue to make every effort to collect every tax dollar the county is owed."

Rockland County currently offers the option for property owners to enter into a payment plan with the Finance Department so as to avoid the tax title auction process. County Executive Day encourages property owners to take advantage of all the options available to them.

"I want to especially thank those property owners who do pay their property taxes on time," Day said. "I appreciate their commitment to our county."

Click on the PDF document below for a complete listing of non-residential tax delinquent properties in Rockland County.