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Tia Graham

More than 250 people have registered for the office’s virtual meetings to answer questions about taxes, payment plans and foreclosures.

Darci E. McConnell

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree said because of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits last year, more Wayne County residents were able to pay their tax bills on time last year.

From October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, according to the Treasurer’s Office, compared to the previous four years, there were more payments.

“People have money and people have had a difference in income because of extra federal stimulus checks or unemployment,” Sabree says. “There is less delinquency coming to our office from municipalities and from previous years.”

Once a month, the Wayne County Treasurer’s Office hosts virtual meetings to answer residents’ questions and offer assistance. The department often includes members from utility companies to help with electric and water bill issues.

Sabree says that at last month’s meeting, more than 250 people signed up. It gives officials the ability to hear from taxpayers and get real-time assistance from staff during the call.

Sabree says so many questions were raised regarding taxes, payment plans and foreclosures that had to be answered within days of the meeting. He says it’s important for people to ask questions when they’re in need.

“That’s still our biggest challenge. Because if sometimes we can’t reach people, we call them, we send them letters. And we do a lot of publicity within the period before the deadline. We still haven’t heard from people,” he said.

Sabree says there are initiatives to help struggling taxpayers, including Pay as You Stay, which eliminates much of the past debt for eligible very low-income residents. About 7,000 Detroiters have also sought help from the Gilbert Family Foundation, Sabree says, which reimburses residents’ balances. Michigan State is also running a program called the Michigan Homeowners Relief Fund who will be able to help other people who do not qualify for these low-income exemptions.

Listen: Eric Sabree, Treasurer of Wayne County, on ratepayer concerns.

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  • Tia Graham is a reporter and weekend edition host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.

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