Chance to avoid foreclosure, BENTON HARBOR — Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski will be at the Benton Harbor Library Saturday to help Benton Harbor and Benton Township residents get into payment plans to pay their back property taxes so they don’t lose their homes.
He said he will be there from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
“There’s a lot of good people in Benton Harbor who want to stay there,” he said. “I don’t want their homes.”
He said his office has mailed more than 700 letters to property owners in the city and township who will be foreclosed on if they don’t pay their property taxes or get into a payment plan by March 31. Of those properties, 483 are in the city. Since mailing the letters, he said, 220 of the property owners have set up payment plans.
Witkowski said getting property owners into payment plans helps not only the owners but the county. Currently, he said, property owners in payment plans throughout the county are paying $118,000 a month on $1.5 million in back taxes.
Benton Harbor city commissioners last week approved a list of 27 houses on the foreclosure list that will be torn down if the property taxes aren’t paid up.
City Manager Darwin Watson said city staff looked over the list and chose houses that are blighted, burned out and/or vacant. In a few cases, he said there is only a garage left on the property.
Read more: A chance to avoid foreclosure