43 Benton Harbor condo units in tax-delinquent auction

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - It’s not unusual for a condo or two to go up for auction at the Berrien County delinquent tax sale.

It is unusual when 43 condos do, and that’s exactly what’s happening this year.

The New Harbor Condos are near the water, with the river and boat slips right across Riverview Drive. But the complex is now underwater financially.

“In this case, I think it was one owner collected rent, didn’t pay the utilities, didn’t pay the water bill,” Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski said. “They didn't pay their water bill last year, so [Benton Harbor] got stuck with $60,000, some unpaid water bills of which are placed now on the taxes we are now trying to collect for the city.”

Later this month, 43 New Harbor condos will go up for auction.

On the bright side, the minimum bid of $145,000 is $90,000 less than the assessed value.

On the not-so-bright side, some of those units are still occupied.

“If you don't pay your taxes, your stuff gets taken, that’s the law, but what about the people that have paid? None of us know what's going on,” said 13-year New Harbor resident Andrea Jackson, who currently stays in a building without electricity.

The New Harbor units are owned by several individuals, and only one is tax-delinquent. His units are sporting bright orange tags and are scattered willy-nilly throughout the three-building complex.

That’s the reason why the county will only entertain offers on all 43 condos at once.

“We're just short of the majority, 43 out of the 90 units. Since then, though, other people who own units there have called, and they're willing to sell them at a very low price if someone wants to come in, maybe try to get control of that facility,” Witkowski said.

The tax-delinquent auction will take place on July 30. The list of tax-delinquent properties can be viewed by clicking here.