The City of Brandon’s tax sale deadline is two months away, and the whopping list of 220 properties has been whittled down to 28.
As of Aug. 8, the properties still owe nearly $600,000 combined in 2012 and 2013 back taxes.
“From our perspective, it doesn’t matter when (they pay), as long as it is paid prior to the start of the sale,” said Val Rochelle, the city’s director of finance.
Property owners must pay the 2012 portion by the Oct. 16 deadline or they could lose their property in a public auction.
The property with the highest outstanding bill is Shape Foods, the flaxseed processing plant located at 2001 Victoria Ave. East. The property owes just over $306,000 ($161,000 for 2012 and $145,000 for 2013.) The plant has been on the tax arrears list for the past few years, but tends to clear up the debt just in time.
While it doesn’t matter to the city when the debt is paid, the longer the properties stay on the list, the higher their debt becomes. Every month there is a 1.25 per cent interest charge.
For example, Shape Foods’ debt has increased by about $25,000 since the tax arrears list was first posted in January.
“It is truly up to them, and I’m sure every person’s situation could be different,” Rochelle said. “We have had situations where people have sort of made it in under the wire and obviously lots of people take care of it well in advance because our list has decreased from a couple of hundred down to less than 30.”
Vacant storefronts at 631 Rosser Ave. have racked up more than $27,000 in unpaid taxes, while an abandoned gas station at 402 Rosser Ave. owes more than $14,000. The property at 302 10th St., where Newfie’s restaurant was located, owes nearly $13,000.
Pennzoil 10-Minute Oil Change, located at the corner of 18th Street and Rosser Avenue, owes more than $58,000. Owner Dan Precourt previously told the Brandon Sun he is looking at appealing the assessed value of the property. The business opened its doors in 2012, after relocating from its previous address further south on 18th Street. Precourt said the business was faced with exorbitant tax bills compared to the previous location.
The property at 863 10th St., which is the location of Brandon Squash and Athletics Centre, owes just over $32,000. The property at 808 Van Horne Ave. East, a garage/warehouse owes $12,400, while a truck lot at 832 Van Horne Ave. East owes $2,100. The remainder on the list are single-family homes owing in the range of $1,500 to $13,000.
Property owners in arrears shouldn’t be caught off guard, as they are given many notices. TAXervice, the agency hired by the city to recover property tax arrears, sends out notices via registered mail, as well as personal service to the registered owner.
Two properties were auctioned off last year.
“If we do have an actual sale, it’s one or two, maybe three (properties) … but I don’t believe we’ve ever had any more than that,” Rochelle said. “And we’ve had many, many years where there has never been a sale ... We certainly hope and anticipate that everybody will be able to redeem their properties.”
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