Bertie home foreclosures rise

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 21, 2008

WINDSOR – Even rural Bertie County is feeling the effects of the country’s economic state.

According to CADA Director Sallie Surface, there were 80 foreclosures on homes last year in Bertie County alone, a number far greater than the norm.

Surface came before the Bertie County Commissioners during Thursday afternoon’s regular meeting. During the course of discussion, Surface mentioned the higher foreclosure rate across the area.

According to Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb, that could also mean bad news for the county’s tax collection rate.

&uot;We’re anticipating a drop in the tax collection rate because when people foreclose, they also don’t pay taxes,&uot; he stated.

That loss of revenue could potentially force the county to have to raise other taxes in order to make up the difference.

The commissioners were amazed at the high rate of foreclosure in the county in the last year.

&uot;I didn’t have any idea it was that high,&uot; Commissioner Wallace Perry commented.

Lamb remarked, &uot;Economists have been saying we’re (the country) headed toward a recession, but they’re also saying the housing industry is already in a depression.&uot;

An economists’ definition of a recession is a widespread decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months, whereas a depression is a severe or long-lasting recession.

According to the Moody’s Economy website, North Carolina as a whole is in an expansion (the normal state of the economy), but many counties in northeastern North Carolina are in an &uot;at risk&uot; category.

Surface also said that CADA could help homeowners before they get in serious financial trouble.

&uot;People need to let us know the problems they are having with their mortgages before it gets to the point of foreclosure,&uot; she said.

In a phone interview with the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Surface elaborated on what CADA can do to help homeowners.

&uot;We currently have a home protection loan program to benefit people who have lost their jobs,&uot; she stated.

Surface continued, &uot;There is also a counseling program we’re about to receive training on that’s going to be offered across the state. I don’t know what the particulars are of that yet, but counseling will be a part of it.&uot;

More information will be available on that after CADA employees go through the training on March 25.

Anyone who needs assistance or is seeking further information can contact Brenda Greene at the main CADA office at (252) 539-4155.

CADA is a HUD-certified housing counseling agency.