Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree says due to stimulus checks and unemployment benefits last year, more Wayne County residents were able to pay their tax bills on time last year.
From Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021, the treasurer’s office says compared to the previous four years, there have been more payments.
“People have the money and and folks have had a difference in their income because of additional federal stimulus checks or unemployment,” Sabree says. “There’s less delinquency coming over to our office from the municipalities and in the previous years.”
Once a month, the Wayne County Treasurer’s office hosts virtual meetings to answer any questions from residents and offer assistance. The department often includes members from utility companies to help with electricity and water bill problems.
Sabree says during last month’s meeting, more than 250 people signed up. It gives officials the opportunity to hear from taxpayers and get help in real time from staff during the call.
Sabree says so many questions came up regarding taxes, payment plans and foreclosures had to be answered days following the meeting. He says it’s important that people ask questions when they are in need.
“That’s our always the biggest challenge. Because if sometimes we can’t reach people, we just call them, we send letters. And we do a lot of advertising inside into the period of time before the deadline. We still don’t hear from people, ” he says.
Sabree says there are initiatives aimed at helping struggling taxpayers, including Pay as You Stay, which eliminates a large portion of past debt for eligible very low-income residents. About 7,000 Detroiters have also sought help from the Gilbert Family Foundation, Sabree says, which is paying off residents’ balance. The state of Michigan is also launching a program called the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund that will be able to help other individuals who don’t qualify for that low income exemptions.