By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Delinquent property taxes may lead to foreclosure by the city

Notices sent to owners of record to pay up or face court proceedings


Pay up or face foreclosure.

That is the word from the city's finance department, which is poised and ready to seek court ordered foreclosures on a number of properties within the city limits that have unpaid taxes, some dating back as far as the 2010 tax year.

Property owners who owe back taxes are urged to pay up or contact city hall right away to take corrective action to avoid court action.

"Please take notice that the Foreclosure List of real property within the City of Valdez with delinquent taxes for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012 is complete and open for public inspection at the Clerk’s Office of the City of Valdez, at City Hall, Valdez, Alaska," the foreclosure notice published on page 10 of this week's edition of the Valdez Star.

The foreclosure notice was first published May 31 and will also run in the June 14 and 21 editions.

In a report to city council, Brian Carlson, the city's finance director, said that Valdez coffers are owed approximately $350,000 in back taxes for the tax years 2013-2016, not including delinquent amounts totaling $87,000 for the years 2010-2012.

"The Foreclosure List for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012 will be presented to the Superior Court at Valdez Alaska seeking entry of judgment of foreclosure and order of sale on June 28, 2017," the public notice says. " Any delinquencies remaining as of June 27, 2017, including the property tax due, plus penalties and interest, will be published in the Valdez Star newspaper, advising that a Petition of Judgment of Foreclosure has been filed in the Superior Court concerning those properties with delinquent taxes due."

Notices were mailed to all property owners who owe back taxes through the 2016 tax year on May 26 according to Carlson.

Carlson also said in his report to council that staff from the finance department will initiate foreclosure proceedings against tax scofflaws later this summer for the 2013-2016 tax years.

The city has hired LeVesque Law Group to "assist with this process."

In addition to the amounts owed for back taxes, property owners are also liable for interest, additional penalties and related legal costs associated with the foreclosure process.

Carlson's report indicated that the city's finance department may also be poised to act faster in delinquent tax cases in the future.

"Finance staff is reviewing internal procedures with the intention of initiating the foreclosure process annually in January for the preceding year," Carlson said. "Annual budgets will reflect related legal services though these fees will be largely if not completely reimbursed by the delinquent taxpayers."

The list of properties with back taxes owed is on file with the city clerk's office and is a public document, as are any related court proceedings.


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