Rockland County Crackdown Nets Millions of Dollars in Unpaid Taxes

Real Estate In-Depth | September 2016

Rockland County Executive Ed Day

NEW CITY—Days after Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced that he was making good on a promise to foreclosure on non-residential properties with long outstanding tax bills, the owner of the property with the largest delinquency paid his obligations in full.

A certified check in the amount of $81,173.32 was received by the Rockland County tax collector on Sept. 28th for taxes owed on 471 Kings Highway in Valley Cottage. The amount represented taxes owed in full through September.

“This proves what we have been saying all along,” said County Executive Day at a press conference on Sept. 28. “Some people stop paying their taxes not because they can’t but because they see it as part of doing business.”

Rockland County has collected $2.4 million out of $2.9 million, or 81%, of the back taxes owed since starting an enforcement campaign this past spring. The action involves foreclosing after two years of unpaid taxes on non-residential properties instead of three years, as had long been the county’s policy, county officials stated in a press announcement.

“This program has been extremely successful in getting the attention of owners of these non-residential properties who think they can get away with not paying taxes,” Day said.

Kevin O’Sullivan, the longtime owner of the Valley Cottage property, a ramshackle two-story building that abuts the railroad tracks, had not paid taxes on the lot in years, county officials noted.

No other owner of 124 delinquent non-residential properties has paid taxes since County Executive Day announced recently that a judge has signed off on foreclosure proceedings on the parcels. An auction of the properties will take place sometime in January. Owners have until the day of the auction to pay the tax bill in full.

Payment for the Valley Cottage property marks the second time an owner has fully paid taxes immediately after the County Executive announced initiation of foreclosure proceedings.

The owner of the 208-acre Patrick Farm property in Ramapo paid a tax bill of more than $350,000 in March, the day after the County Executive identified the parcel as the largest tax delinquent in Rockland.