By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes
The City of Keizer paid nearly $70,000 in back property taxes on privately-owned land, which served as collateral on city-backed bonds, to avoid its foreclosure by Marion County, receipts show.
The city of Keizer is using urban renewal dollars to pay delinquent local improvement bond debt assessed to several Keizer Station property owners. Four of the five parcels in question also had delinquent back property taxes going back to the 2008 tax year.
The Keizer City Council voted last year to start a process that would lead the city to foreclose upon the properties, then sell them at a later date to recover monies lost paying back the bond debt. Had the county foreclosed, the city could have lost its stake in the property entirely, said City Manager Chris Eppley.
“The county is required to foreclose by statute on any properties over a certain [past due] time frame,” Eppley said. “The action we took actually preserved our investment and security in that property.”
Back taxes on more recent years are still owed on the properties in addition to local improvement district debt owed to the city, which in turn must repay bondholders. Eppley said he expected all along that paying the county’s back taxes would be a prerequisite to selling them.
“It’s really either now or later,” Eppley said.
The anticipated expense was budgeted for this year from the Keizer Urban Renewal District budget, said Finance Director Susan Gahlsdorf.
Both judicial and nonjudicial means of foreclosure are on the table, said City Attorney Shannon Johnson.