St. Clair Today

St. Clair Today

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

St. Clair County officials deal with economic impact of coronavirus

Local Government

By Mary Lou Lang | Mar 23, 2020

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St. Clair County residents facing foreclosure will have an additional two months as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19. Officials have also suspended cash payments at the Blue Water Bridge to stop the spread of the virus.

As a result of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's extension of the tax foreclosure deadline from March 31 to May 29, St. Clair County residents will get a reprieve, reported the Times Herald. 

Whitmer's decision to extend the payment deadline comes at a time when the state and local officials are grappling with ways to help residents deal with COVID-19.

County and treasury officials indicated that many people are concerned about the uncertainty surround the virus' effects on their ability to pay.  St. Clair County Board Chairman Jeff Bohm said though "arguably, people are not behind” on taxes, he's heard about the concern from residents, reported by the Times Herald.

“But you get shut down a month or two months without a paycheck, ‘What’s going to happen to me if I get delinquent?’” asked Bohm. “I’m assuming you’re getting that type of stuff (also).”

Before the governor's extension,  Deputy Treasurer Molly Crorey told the Times Herald that many people have visited the office for tax-related and other issues, while awareness of non-essential gatherings was being broadcast along with the closure of the local government office. 

“Phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Crorey said. “Friday, I bet we had 200 people in our office either just wanting to know what they owed, wanting to know what their options were, could they make a partial payment, what if they lost their job. Monday was the same way. I’m like, ‘We have a problem here. We’re going to keep transmitting because we’ve got different walks of life coming in the door.’”

In addition to foreclosure delays, cash payments have been suspended at the Blue Water Bridge, and only credit card payments, debit or commuter account cards are being accepted to try to stave off the new coronavirus spread, according to MLive

“Reducing person-to-person contact by moving to cashless transactions will help to reduce the amount of exposure to contagion, as well as reduce contact back to customers if change is being provided,” said the state’s Emergency Operations Center, as repoted by MLive.

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