BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN
The Shape Foods flax oil and meal plant in Brandon.
Property tax scofflaws have just one more day to pay up, or else their property will go up for public auction tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
Six properties were still on the city’s tax arrears list as of yesterday, owing a little more than $36,500 in total for outstanding taxes from 2011 and 2012 combined.
Shelley Tataryn, the city’s accounting manager, said she anticipates at least a few properties will go up for auction.
"The probability is high that two will go for sale," Tataryn said. "They have the ability to redeem up until the last minute."
Up until a week ago, Shape Foods Inc. was still on the tax arrears list, owing a total of $332,041.48 (2011 and 2012 taxes). Of that, nearly $193,000 was owed for outstanding 2011 taxes and needed to be paid to avoid public auction.
"We took care of it in the allotted time," said Taras Sokolyk, CEO of the flax seed processing plant. "We’re still a new company that’s working hard to establish ourselves in the marketplace, so there’s still challenges out there but we’re still meeting them."
When the city first posted the tax arrears on its website in May, there were 49 properties on the list.
Property owners must pay what they owe in outstanding taxes from 2011 to avoid public auction.
Some properties owe as little as $253, while the highest bill needed to be paid by tomorrow is just under $14,000.
"I know one ... property owner may decide that it’s just not worth keeping," Tataryn said. "If they don’t live in Brandon anymore and they don’t want the property, they may decide it’s not worth paying $250 a year any longer."
The six properties that owe the following in 2011 arrears: 246 Second St. ($329.64), 631 Rosser Ave. ($13,949.43), 17 Ninth St. N. ($253.30), 134 24th St.($2,262.70), 1620 Douglas St. ($1,343.37), as well as a property with no street address ($1,574.58).
TAXervice, the agency hired by the city to recover property tax arrears, made personal contact with the majority of the remaining property owners. This was done to ensure they understand the implications of not paying the outstanding arrears.
"I believe that there are still two properties left to be contacted," Tataryn said. "They have been served and contacted formally, it’s just that they haven’t made the one last contact."
At this time last year, there were only two properties on the list, of which one went to auction. In 2011, there was only one property on the list, and Tataryn said it did not go up for sale.
Tataryn said as the weeks pass by, property owners are racking up even more additional costs. The total fee from beginning to end for one property is $495, plus special service fees when and if applicable. Special service fees can range from $75 to $395, plus there are also interest charges at the beginning of each month.
The final deadline for property owners to pay is 9 a.m. tomorrow. The public auction will begin at 9:30 a.m. at city hall in council chambers.
"The owners at that time lose the right to redeem their property," Tataryn said. "If anybody does decide to bid on the properties, they can if they so choose, and the owner does relinquish all rights to the property at that point."
Tataryn said the city may choose to put reserve bids on the property in the amount of taxes and costs owing.
If nobody bids on a property and the city doesn’t put a reserve bid on it, then the property owners will retain ownership and it will go into tax sale again next year, Tataryn said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 16, 2013