The city collector’s request for an aldermanic committee review of old property liens that predate the current property owners was postponed after City Attorney Robert Jones said he wants to know more about the transactions.
Collector Debbie Kelley asked that an aldermanic committee look at the challenged liens during the board meeting Oct. 17.
Five properties, dating back to 1991, have liens that were placed on them by the city of Pacific. The liens were filed in Franklin County, Kelley said.
Liens range from $794 to $6,226 for a total owed to the city $13,000.
“The people who own the property now keep coming to me,” Kelley said. “They say the liens should have been satisfied when they purchased the properties.”
Normally when a property with a lien on it is sold, the lien is paid off as part of the purchase transaction and not continued as a debt of the new owner.
Some interpretations of state law say property tax liens must be paid off when property is sold, but other interpretations say the buyer’s lender requires that all previous liens be paid off.
On the five properties in questions it was the title company that made the decision to leave the liens in place, according Kelley.
“The title company chose not to honor the liens at the time of the sale so the liens are still on the property,” she said.
Kelley said rather than keep the liens on the books year after year she is requesting that an aldermanic committee look at the measure to determine if they should be written off.
City Administrator Steve Roth notified Kelley that Jones wanted to see the tax bills and the entire file on each of the properties before sending them to committee.
“The plan is for the attorney (Jones) to review each property and make a report to the aldermen at the next meeting Nov. 7,” Roth said.