Skip to content
Home » Schuyler County » Time is running out for Schuyler residents behind on property taxes: How many properties could be seized?

Time is running out for Schuyler residents behind on property taxes: How many properties could be seized?

Schuyler County residents who have fallen behind on their property taxes will soon receive a personal letter from County Treasurer Holley Sokolowski and County Attorney Steven Getman. The message is simple: Pay the back taxes by February 28th or face the possibility of the property being seized and sold at a public auction.

In an effort to prevent this outcome, Sokolowski and Getman have hand-written notes on the envelopes of the letters, which will be sent to approximately 80 property owners. According to Sokolowski, the letters are aimed at keeping people in their homes and providing them with options to avoid foreclosure. The letters also remind residents of the services that county tax dollars support, including law enforcement, public health, roads and bridges, and social services.

Getman added that the handwritten notes on the envelopes show that the letter is important and deserves more attention, as research has found that people are more likely to respond to personal letters and handwritten notes than to form letters.

The letters are just one step in the county’s efforts to collect overdue taxes while keeping residents in their homes. Each November, the county mails out foreclosure notices and petitions to properties with back tax liens from the previous year. These notices are sent via regular and certified mail to property owners, mortgage holders, and others with an interest in the delinquent properties.

The county also publishes a list of delinquent taxes in two local newspapers and posts warnings on the properties that they could be sold for back taxes. Only after all of these steps have been taken does the court enter a judgment foreclosing on the property. If the property remains unredeemed, it will be sold at a public auction.

Getman emphasized that the law requires the county to enforce the property tax laws and ensure that everyone pays their fair share, while also keeping residents in their homes. As County Treasurer, Sokolowski is the chief fiscal officer of county government and enforcement officer for unpaid property tax liens. Getman, as County Attorney, is the chief legal advisor for county government and is responsible for the prosecution and defense of civil actions brought by and against the county, including tax matters.