Oak Bluffs tax collector Cheryll Sashin explained this week that she has delayed filing liens against 30 residents or businesses that are delinquent on wastewater charges owed to the town. She said that in these tough economic times, she stays the process more frequently.
According to Ms. Sashin, if a bill is overdue, the wastewater customer gets a demand notice, and if the bill is still not paid after a year, the collector transfers the balance to the customer’s real estate tax bill. If the bill is still not paid, the town may then place a lien on the customer’s property.
A stay granted by Ms. Sashin delays that transfer and the lien. Ms. Sashin said when there are extenuating circumstances, the action gives customers time to pay before the town takes legal steps to collect the debt. She said she issues such holds at her discretion.
“It’s available to anyone who asks for it,” Ms. Sashin said in a phone conversation with the Times.
“There is no written policy,” she wrote in a follow-up email, in response to a request for the public records. “Each individual circumstance varies for each taxpayer. There is no contract agreement with these taxpayers. It is in good faith that I believe these particular accounts will be paid prior to a second review and subsequent lien, and some already have.”
The overdue bills range from $6 to $10,019. The total of the 30 delinquent accounts is $38,654, and the average is $1,288.
“I can assure you, the town is not losing any revenue,” Ms. Sashin said.