By LIZ SKOCZYLAS
MAYVILLE - Chaut-auqua County tax bills are currently being processed and expected to be done today - which means residents will be able to begin paying Jan. 16.
As long as there are no delays by the state, tax bills will soon be delivered. Jim Caflisch, director of the Chautauqua County Office of Real Property Tax, provided this news to the Administrative Services Committee during its meeting.
Aside from providing a report on the tax bills, Caflisch had a discussion with the committee, where he brought up a couple concerns.
The county is facing five significant challenges for property taxes within the next year, according to Caflisch.
The county coordinates the legal aspects of the challenge with the municipality. Because of this, Caflisch suggested to the committee setting up a reserve account in order to fund litigation.
"I have to really try to budget too much money into my budget, and it's not necessarily my department's expense," Caflisch said.
Additionally, Caflisch and Steve Abdella, county attorney, discussed problems with reacquisition contracts. The contracts allow taxpayers to enter into an agreement with the county to pay off the taxes that are owed over a one year period, while keeping their other taxes current.
If the agreement is not kept, the home goes into foreclosure. However, there are now cases where residents are filing bankruptcy shortly before the foreclosure process, which is extending the amount of time of the reacquisition contract.
"You may unwittingly, depending on how the rulings come out, end up granting much more than a year," Abdella said.
The committee discussed whether there was a way to "bankruptcy-proof" the reacquisition contracts, which are not a mandatory program under real property tax law. Abdella said he will look into the outcomes of the current cases and bring them back to the committee. The committee will then look for a solution.
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