UPDATED: A story in Saturday's edition of the Times Herald-Record incorrectly stated the number of Newburgh City properties with installment agreements to pay delinquent taxes in 2016. There were approximately 35 properties with installment agreements.
CITY OF NEWBURGH — The Newburgh City Council has taken a resolution to eliminate the option to pay delinquent taxes through installment payments off the table for Monday's regular meeting.
The decision to not vote on the measure came after a 30-minute discussion about the issue at Thursday's work session between the corporation counsel and members of the council.
Councilman-at-Large Anthony Grice said the city should have further explained to residents how the payment agreement works and what eliminating it would mean.
"... I do want the taxpayer to know what that implies to them, with the possibility for that time that the other taxpayers, who have paid them (property taxes) on time, will be holding some of that burden," Grice said, adding that a large amount of time and labor goes into managing the payment agreements and it could possibly require an extra full-time staffer.
In 2016, the city had open payment agreements with approximately 35 properties, according to Corporation Counsel Michelle Kelson.
"As economic times get better, fewer and fewer people are entering into the agreements because they are better able to pay their taxes on time," Kelson said.
Kelson noted a small percentage of taxpayers use the installment option and her office has been working on streamlining enforcement so that it requires less administrative work.
Mayor Torrance Harvey said if the payment plan helps just a few people who are economically disadvantaged or down on their luck, it's "worth its weight in gold."
"I couldn't sleep at night knowing we could possibly do away with the law," Harvey said. "Because I know a lot of folks who have reached out to me with disagreement with doing away with the local law."