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PR- 076-06
March 14, 2006


Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws

"The bill before me today is Introductory Number 187, sponsored by Council Members Weprin, Comrie, White, Nelson and Recchia, at the request of our Administration. This bill extends the authorization for the Commissioner of Finance to conduct the sale of tax liens on behalf of the City for six months - through August 31, 2006.

"The annual sale of tax liens in New York City on delinquent property taxes and property-related charges began in 1996. Since the City instituted the sale of tax liens, the Finance Department has collected more than $2 billion in delinquent charges through lien sales. Simultaneously, the lien sale has increased voluntary payments and reduced the number of foreclosures faced by owners who owe outstanding debt to the City, thanks to an unprecedented outreach campaign conducted by the Departments of Finance, Environmental Protection, and Housing Preservation and Development, and by several City Council Members. It is always our goal to collect outstanding tax debt through voluntary payments rather than by selling liens.

"This six month extension will allow the Finance Department to conduct the 2006 lien sale this spring. I look forward to working with the City Council in the months ahead to ensure that the Finance Department will be able to continue to collect outstanding debt. It is my hope that, in the future, we will expand the legislation to include the sale of liens on residential properties that are severely delinquent on their water and sewer charges as well. Including this debt in the lien sale would create more equity in the system as these severe delinquencies force every other taxpayer to assume this burden through higher water and sewer rates.

"Lien sales help the City maintain equity in the property tax system by assuring that conscientious and timely taxpayers are not overburdened and forced to pay for those individuals who disregard their tax obligations. Lien sales also permit the City to continue to reduce its role as landlord to delinquent properties and remove the City from the business of foreclosing on delinquent properties.

"I would like to thank Council Member Weprin for his assistance on Intro. 187. I would also like to thank Department of Finance Commissioner Martha Stark, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan and their staff for their success and continued efforts."


Stu Loeser / Jordan Barowitz   (212) 788-2958

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