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Annual report given

Anne Giroux, treasurer, Marquette County

MARQUETTE — Marquette County Treasurer Anne Giroux presented the treasurer’s annual report to the Marquette County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday night’s meeting, outlining department statistics, such as foreclosure rates, and the status of investments, as well as resources the department provides for taxpayers who are behind on property taxes.

The overall property tax foreclosure rate reported by the county treasurer’s office was 3.9 percent in 2018, down from 4.3 percent in 2017, and below the statewide average foreclosure rate of 7 percent, Giroux told the board.

“We’re typically well below the state foreclosure rate and we continue to be below that rate,” she said. “For the state of Michigan as a whole, that rate has been going down, which is also good news for Michigan. So it will be interesting to see with 2019 numbers if our foreclosure numbers follow suit or not.”

Of the total 31 tax foreclosures in 2018, five were taken by local units of government, 11 were taken by the Marquette County Land Bank Authority prior to auction and the remaining 15 were sold at auction, with around $300,000 in sales proceeds, according to the annual report.

Giroux said she was glad the numbers of delinquent and forfeited parcels handled by her office declined from 2017 to 2018.

“I’m happy that in 2018 both parcels turned over to our office delinquent from the local townships and city treasurers, as well as the forfeitures — which is one year after the date of delinquency — are both down,” she said.

Real property taxes returned delinquent decreased from 4,472 parcels in 2017 to 4,275 in 2018, with forfeited parcels down from 791 in 2017 to 702 in 2018, the annual report states.

Giroux emphasized that the treasurer’s office works to provide a variety of resources for taxpayers who may be having difficulty keeping up with property taxes.

“In terms of 2018 accomplishments, we do still really focus on foreclosure prevention in my office and really trying to assist taxpayers,” she said. “We’re still heavily marketing the Step Forward Michigan program, which does still have funding, and are constantly giving out their information to taxpayers who are struggling and may be experiencing a hardship. We’ve had several families in Marquette County that have been able to take advantage of that program, which helps them get caught up on their property taxes. I continue to offer one-year hardship extensions to folks who qualify for that extension, and are always trying to do outreach to our taxpayers to make sure we keep people in their homes.”

Giroux also outlined the state of county investment accounts for the board.

“It’s an interesting interest rate environment right now, and in a way, it’s very good to be a fixed income investor, which is what we are, because short-term rates are high,” she said, noting that while interest rates are unpredictable, the treasurer’s office tries to “maintain a ladder of investment with varying rates, safety being the top priority.”

Unpaid 2017 property taxes entered delinquency in March 2018 and will enter forfeiture March 1. For more information on delinquent property tax collection, timelines and resources for taxpayers, visit: http://www.co.marquette.mi.us/departments/county_treasurer/delinquent_real_property_tax_collections.php#.XG1THIVht9g or call the treasurer’s office at 906-225-8425.

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