The City of Brandon is owed just over $630,000 in overdue taxes from 49 properties.
One of the properties on the tax arrears list, which was posted this week on the city’s website, is owned by Mayor Shari Decter Hirst and her husband Dr. Derry Decter.
Decter’s clinic at 841 Rosser Ave. is on the hook for roughly $8,600 in back taxes (just under $7,900 for 2012 and about $750 for 2011).
When contacted Wednesday, Decter Hirst said the issue had been taken care of that afternoon.
"My husband Derry is a great doctor, but he’s not so good at business," she said. "Derry had a new bookkeeper and had a few things slip through the cracks."
As property owners pay up, they will be taken off the list, which is revised weekly. An updated list will be posted next Monday.
The list reveals that property tax scofflaws owe from as little as $670 to a whopping $317,000.
The commercial property making up about 50 per cent of the total tax arrears is Shape Foods Inc. The company, which manufactures flax oil, owes $181,700 for 2011 taxes and $135,154 for 2012.
Shape Foods CEO Taras Sokolyk said there are plans in the works to get the bill squared away.
"We’re a new company, sometimes there’s growing pains," he said. "As a new company and a pretty significant employer in Brandon, we do our level best to be a responsible corporate citizen."
Sokolyk said the company takes this "very seriously."
"We pay our taxes and we pay the penalties necessary if we don’t pay them in a timely fashion," he said.
The arrears list includes what is owed for 2011, as well as 2012. Property owners must pay the 2011 portion by the Oct. 17 deadline. If payment isn’t received, the property will be auctioned off by the city.
Shelley Tataryn, the city’s accounting manager, said property owners will also be facing additional tax sale costs and penalties.
"The total fee from beginning to end for one property is $495," she said.
Tataryn said typically only one or two properties end up going to the tax sale, if that.
"Last year was the first time that we’ve had a tax sale in quite some time," she said.
Property owners would have been notified that they had arrears on their tax bill in 2012. In addition to that, the city sent out courtesy letters in January before releasing the list that same month.
Making the list public is one of the steps the city must take under the Municipal Act legislation, which is why it was posted online.
Also on the arrears list is a property at 571 Middleton Ave. (truck/trailer yard) which owes just over $40,000. More than $23,000 is owed by the property at 631 Rosser Ave., which are currently vacant storefronts.
The list shows that the property at 1133 Princess Ave., which is now where The Dock is located, owes more than $21,000. Just over $12,000 is owed by 908 Rosser Ave., where Wildflower Cafe is located.
The property at 1203 Princess Ave., where Mecca Productions is located owes just over $14,000, while 302-10th St. (former Foxy’z Bistro & Pub) owes over $11,000.
The deadline to sign up for the city’s payment plan is early June.
"We offer the equal payments to get your tax bill paid off for those who can’t afford to come in and pay it off all at once," Tataryn said.
» email@example.com, with files from Grant Hamilton