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City Charter prevents reimbursement of late fees

Submitted by on October 7, 2010 – 6:08 amNo Comment

An Alpena man will not be receiving a refund of fees and interest charges for paying his property taxes late.

Bruce Duncan, owner of Thunder Bay Therapy & Sports Medicine on Long Rapids Road, was charged nearly $900 for paying his taxes a few days late.  He thinks the charge is excessive and asked the city for at least a partial refund.

City attorney Bill Pfiefer informed the municipal council this week, that City Charter and state law only allow a refund of such penalties if the governing body votes and approves of an exception.  Pfiefer doesn’t believe an exception is a good idea, however, and would rather see an amendment to the Charter.

“So I don’t think it would be appropriate to refund the monies at this time,” he said.

Staff is currently going through the City Charter, looking for things that need to be updated.  The 1944 document does include some outdated language.  Eventually a number of recommendations will be brought before the municipal council to act on.  However, late fees and penalties charged for paying property taxes late may not be one of the items up for review.