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Monday, February 28, 2011 - 9:37am

Local Tax Officials Feel Foreclosure Stress

The ongoing foreclosure crisis hits not only property owners hard, but takes its toll on local tax officials. And the emotional fallout can extend from the residential street to the county office.

In early February, Cherokee County tax commissioner David Fields gave up his job with still two years remaining on his term. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution handling foreclosed properties of friends and neighbors became too much -- to actually affecting his health. He’d held the post for nearly 30 years.

Danny Sane knows the feeling. He’s been tax commissioner of northwest Georgia’s Whitfield County for 18 years.

“I emailed that very article to my wife and I said ‘you know, sometimes this is how I feel’. But we really try to work through those. I try to give everyone as much opportunity as I can…I don’t want to be in the house-selling business.”

Sane says what keeps him going is knowing there are ways to help property owners with back taxes. He says his office often can arrange payment plans on delinquent taxes of less than three years.

Georgia is 7th nationwide with 12,772 foreclosures according to RealtyTrac.