Trail homeowners are diligent when it comes to paying their property taxes, as a whole.
Given there are 4,000+ properties on the civic tax roll, and less than 30 landed on the city’s auction list this year due to property tax arrears – there’s a less-than-one-per-cent delinquency rate.
More so, that statistic has remained fairly steady over time.
Interesting this year, however, is that the majority of those properties, or 18 of the 26 currently on the block, are located in West Trail.
While it can be difficult for anyone to come up with a few thousand dollars on or before July 2 each year, this trend is likely tied to the reason that the properties in question are mostly rentals or vacant.
“It would be hard to suggest there is any sort of a ‘norm’ as far as delinquency is concerned and properties that have delinquent taxes are spread across the entire city,” began David Perehudoff from the City of Trail.
“With that said, and given that there may be a larger portion of ‘non-resident’ owners in West Trail, there can often be more properties from this area noted on the initial list … but the number of properties listed is not significantly more than past years and this varies year over year.”
Landowners have until Sept. 30 to pay up, or the 26 properties collectively owing $58,000 to the municipality plus $2,300 in interest, will be legally put up for public auction.
The original owner has one year after the property is sold to pay the taxes and buy back their property.
In Trail, however, it usually does not come to that.
“City staff works directly with many owners to try to clear up delinquent taxes plus interest before the tax sale occurs,” Perehudoff said.
“Many property owners will end up paying before the tax sale occurs. For those that go through the process, the owners have a year to redeem the property and most of the time property taxes are fully paid.”
Where the municipality is declared the purchaser, city officials have the authority, by bylaw, to extend the redemption period by an additional year.
“Trail council has historically done this to provide the owner with every opportunity to recover the property before title is transferred,” Perehudoff said. “The city sends out ongoing notices as part of trying to ensure that people are fully aware of their account balance and the implication if property taxes remain unpaid. When considering there are in excess of 4,000 properties on the city’s tax roll, there are very few occurrences of taxes not being fully paid where someone ends up losing title to the property.”
One exception did occur a few years ago.
The municipality became owner of the former CS Williams Clinic building in downtown Trail after taxes were not paid from 2013 to 2015.
The city’s cost was $9,200, or the amount of unpaid property taxes.