Q & A: Failure to Pay

Here is another question that I received:

Question:  Does the city do work for people who don’t pay their taxes or fees?

Answer:  Often the city does do work via inspection, permits, or other approvals for property owners who have failed to pay their taxes or other fees, even though it is direct violation of our ordinances.  This is an issue for the city because our budgetary reserves factor into our debt rating.

From the Rochester Code of Ordinances:

85.25         Requirements for City Approvals.

Subdivision 1.  No city official, board, council or other city entity may grant a license, permit or other form of city approval or authorization to any person unless:

A.        The person has complied with all relevant statutory, charter and ordinance requirements;
B.        The person has paid all fees, charges, taxes, special assessments, or other debt or obligation owed by the person to the City regarding any other matter; and
C.        The person is in compliance with all ordinance requirements and previously imposed conditions of approval regarding any other city approval or authorization that was granted to the person.

Subd. 2.  This section does not apply:

A.        If the person has provided sufficient safeguards to assure payment of debts or compliance with city requirements within a reasonable time after the city approval or authorization; or

B.        If enforcement of this section would result in a significant hardship to the person through no fault of his/her own or would result in an otherwise unfair situation.

Unfortunately, many who abuse the responsible tax payers of Rochester by not paying their own taxes in a timely manner still utilize services.  This is largely because the information about who has not paid their taxes or other obligations is not in the right hands.  I expect that we will correct this oversight soon.

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