Lower interest rates for delinquent taxpayers extended

Christine MacDonald
The Detroit News

County treasurers can continue to put tax delinquent homeowners on repayment plans at discounted interest rates, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation that extended the program this week. 

Eric Sabree

There are about 14,000 homeowners on the payment plans who are charged 6 percent interest on their debt, rather than the normal 18 percent, according to the Wayne County Treasurer's Office. 

The law was established in 2015 to tackle the city's escalating foreclosure crisis and was set to expire June 30. The new legislation extends the program until June 2026.

"This is a victory for Michigan taxpayers who are struggling to pay property taxes," Treasurer Eric Sabree said in a press release.

The plans include monthly payments that would have the homeowner pay off the debt in five years. Owners must also pay their current year property taxes. 

Tax foreclosures in Wayne County have sunk to a fraction of their highs just four years ago, but the annual process of auctioning off delinquent properties remains controversial.

As of late May, nearly 7,000 properties countywide face foreclosure because they have debt from their 2016 property tax bill, officials said. The Wayne County Treasurer typically forecloses after three years of unpaid taxes.

That compared with a high of nearly 24,800 in fall 2015.