$2 million in delinquent real estate taxes owed to Petersburg

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Pay-up or face foreclosure.

That's the message from the city of Petersburg to property owners who are delinquent on their real estate tax payments.

Right now there are 600 properties that qualify for the real estate tax foreclosure process in Petersburg.

The city is working with a law firm in an effort to get delinquent property owners to pay-up.

111 South Market Street and 901 Diamond street are two of hundreds of properties in Petersburg in real estate tax foreclosure.

Ronie Winfield:  "I never knew this was one of them."
Nicole Bell: "hat do you think about it?"
Ronie Winfield: "I think it's a shame."

Ronie Winfield rents the home on Diamond Street.

According to the city, his landlord hasn't paid real estate taxes in years.

Ronie Winfield: "I'm going to have to find somewhere else to go because eventually we'll be put out if he don't pay the taxes. It's a sad situation." 
 Nicole Bell: "And you've been paying your rent?"
Ronie Winfield: "Yes."

In order to collect the two million dollars it's owed in delinquent real estate taxes -- the city is working with a law firm.

"They failed to pay 2 years and after that they get on the list of delinquent taxpayers," said Dan Siegel, Attorney with Sands Anderson.

Notices go out informing the property owner the foreclosure process is moving forward.

"And we hope somewhere in the process the property owner says wait -stop I didn't realize it wasn't paid or someone else was going to pay it and they figure out a way to make the payment," said Siegel.

If that doesn't happen, the property is put on the auction block.

"When it's sold on the courthouse steps that money will go into a court fund and be used to pay the taxes owed plus whatever penalty and interest,"  he added.

Money from real estate taxes is used to help fund police and fire services.

Wilhelmina Dennis has owned a home in Petersburg for 3 decades.

Wilhelmina Dennis: "They send you a slip and you pay it."
Nicole Bell: "And you pay yours?"
Wilhelmina Dennis: "Yes."
Nicole Bell: "And what do you think about those who don't pay?"
Wilhelmina Dennis: "They need to pay."

And that, says the city, is the bottom line.

If you've received notice your property qualifies for the real estate tax foreclosure process contact the city treasurer's office to workout a payment plan.

By doing so, it will keep your property from moving forward in the tax foreclosure process.

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