WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- Over the coming weeks Schuyler County officials plan to send handwritten letters to 80 property owners warning them to pay their back property taxes or risk seizure. The letters, which will be sent by County Treasurer Holley Sokolowski and County Attorney Steven Getman, are based on research that Getman says shows people respond better to hand written letters. 

“A form letter may look like junk mail and get tossed... Handwriting shows the letter deserves more attention and sends a message that this is important,” Getman said. 

The letters ask that all back property taxes be paid by Feb. 28th or risk a State Supreme Court Judge entering a judgment ordering the property in question seized and sold at public auction.

“The letter reminds them of the deadline and provides options to avoid the foreclosure,” Sokolowski said, adding “Eligible property owners can pay the full amount due or arrange for an installment agreement.”

According to Sokolowski, each November, Schuyler County mails out Foreclosure Notices and Petitions to properties with back tax liens from the prior year.  

“It's the job of the county to collect taxes, but the main focus here is keeping people on their property and in their homes," Sokolowski said.

If the court is forced to issue a foreclosure, a property, if unredeemed, is then sold at a public auction.

“The law requires the county to take every step to enforce the property tax laws and ensure that everyone pays their fair share,” Getman said.