NORTH ADAMS -- Delinquent taxpayers may soon have an avenue allowing them to arrange a payment plan to bring their tax title properties into the clear.
The city’s Finance Committee voted unanimously Monday night to recommend an ordinance amendment which would authorize payment agreements for properties in the process of being taken by tax title.
The payment agreements could last up to five years and would require that 25 percent of the owed taxes be paid upfront. The amendment would also authorize the city’s treasurer to waive up to 50 percent of the interest accrued on the property.
"This would only waive interest. It would not waive any fees or taxes," Administrative Officer Michael Canales said during the meeting. "It would also require that the treasurer must offer the plan and make a plan with anyone who wants to [enter into the agreement]."
Councilor David Bond, a committee member, questioned if the agreements would have a defined course of action, should the taxpayer fail to meet his or her payment schedule.
"If they miss a payment they’re out," Canales said. "These plans would be set up for eight payments a year. Over five years, that would be 40 payments. The individual would be given a payment schedule upfront."
Should a payment be missed, the individual would be notified that the payment must be made immediately. Failure to do so, he said, would put all of the waived interest back into effect and any interest accrued during the payment plan would also be added back in.
"While the payment plan is in effect, interest isn’t being accrued, but it is [being kept track of] in the system," Canales said. "This is used in other communities and I’ve used it in the past. What you’re going to see is the individual whose fallen behind, most likely because of a lay off or some other circumstance, who wants to bring their property back into their possession, come in to do this."
Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said it would also bring consistency, as the treasurer currently has the ability to offer payment plans that can vary from individual to individual.
The committee also agreed unanimously to set the payment agreement time period for up to five years and to extend it to all types of properties.
"No one should have more opportunity than another," Councilor Alan Marden, committee chairman, said.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email