Detroit Bankruptcy Delayed by Weather

It is amazing that something as simple as weather can delay a bankruptcy for a major city. Detroit had a strict trial schedule for resolving the bankruptcy. However, with the recent cold wave, the court has delayed many of those proceedings. That is not really surprising when you think about it.

A town in the northern area has one major part of their budget that they do not have control of. That is ice and snow removal. In a mild year, the spending can be relatively light. In a cold year such as this, more and more of the discretionary spending disappears as the city has to divert more and more money for road work. Other parts of the budget are quickly affected.

The Bankruptcy Court must oversee the budget and help the city come up with a plan for emerging from their bankruptcy. The Court is faced with the same problem that the City of Detroit is faced with. The Court does not know how much money will be needed for road maintenance related to weather either. This is not a huge problem because bankruptcy courts are used to dealing with changing budgets.

If you are having difficulty with your cash flow, it is a good idea to seek professional help and see a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Most good bankruptcy attorneys will give you a free consultation at no risk. You then can decide if you need the professional help.



By J. C. Bailey III

As I presented a young couple with some of their financial options the other day the option of filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy was discussed. The term “liquidation” is used to differentiate a Chapter 7 from some other options and for some reason the word stuck in my throat. In Texas we have a long tradition of protecting our citizens from being stripped to the bone during the course of financial crisis. The term I used could easily be interpreted as meaning that this couple would have to surrender their house and cars along with personal effects and furnishings. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Numerous exemptions allow property to be protected under the Bankruptcy code and allow you to get a FRESH START. Don’t let misinformation or frightening words force you into bad decisions. Get advice from a knowledgeable experienced professional who is on your side.


Detroit Given The Green Light to Proceed With Bankruptcy

Many of the media talking heads have expressed some surprise that the bankruptcy judge has given the City of Detroit permission to proceed with the bankruptcy. Several hundred people and entities objected to the fact that the bankruptcy was filed and basically argued that it would not be fair to them. Neither the press nor the individuals who objected really understood bankruptcy. Many individual who seek help from a bankruptcy attorney are similarly worried that the creditors can “stop” them from filing. It does not work that way. Bankruptcy is viewed from the perspective of the person or entity which needs help. So, in the Detroit case the judge reviewed the facts and determined that the only solution for the City of Detroit is to proceed with the bankruptcy.

If you are in a bad financial situation where you cannot escape your finances without help, see a qualified bankruptcy attorney. At Bailey & Galyen, we care about the situation you are in and will try very hard to help you out. Will bankruptcy work for everyone? Absolutely not. That is why we offer a free, no-obligation appointment. We will go over the facts of your individual case and let you know what options are available. We will give you non-bankruptcy options as well.


Addressing Property Taxes in Bankruptcy

Real Property Taxes in Texas

Texas has no state income tax, so homeowners and owners of other real estate here pay comparatively high property taxes. These property taxes pay for more of your local governmental services than any other source of funds.

It’s expensive to not be current on your property taxes. If you fall behind, you will have to pay a penalty of up to 12 percent of the tax, in ADDITION TO interest at one percent per month. You could also be sued for collection, which adds even more penalties and costs. Your property could even be sold at auction to pay the taxes. (For your convenience, the Texas Window on State Government website has more helpful general information on property taxes.)

Be Able to Afford to Pay Property Taxes by Discharging Other Debts

If you’ve fallen behind on your property taxes, then most likely your income has not been high enough to meet your expenses, including whatever you’ve been paying on your other debts. Sometimes just discharging (legally writing off) the other debts will enable you to catch up on your property taxes.

Some tax entities will set you up on a 36-month payment plan to catch up. If your county or other local tax entity has such a policy and you can afford the payments you need to pay, a Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” could be what you need.

Chapter 13 Gives You More Leverage over Property

But a catch-up payment plan may not work in your situation if:

  • You can’t afford the required monthly payments.
  • This kind of payment plan is not offered by your tax collector.
  • You are no longer eligible for the payment plan because the collection process has gotten too far along.
  • You’ve already tried a payment plan, but could not make payments consistently.
  • Your mortgage lender requires you to bring the taxes current much more quickly.
    • Under a Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts” case, you can stretch your catch-up property tax payments out over as many as five years, thus reducing the amount of each month’s installment and making the payments more affordable. During that time the tax authority would not be able to take any other collection action, which would save you worry. You would just need to continue fulfilling the terms of your court-approved Chapter 13 plan.

      Chapter 13 may also allow you to catch up on your property taxes relatively quickly — to keep the accruing interest and penalties down — by delaying payment to other important creditors, such as the IRS or a support enforcement agency.

      Also, if you are behind on property taxes, you are likely also behind on your mortgage. Chapter 13 could be the best way to address that problem as well since it enables you to stretch out your mortgage catch-up payments for up to five years, while protecting you from foreclosure and other collection efforts by your mortgage holder.

      So if you have a problem with your property taxes and you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, please call Bailey & Galyen to schedule a no-obligation, free, confidential consultation. We can review your situation and advise you about your options. Call us today at 800-208-3104 or reach us here. We look forward to helping you.


How do firefighters die?

By J. C. Bailey III

I’ve seen movies and television shows about firefighting and am acquainted with numerous first responders. I would think the biggest risks would be smoke inhalation or being trapped in a collapsed structure. I would be wrong. In their excellent book “Scarcity” Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir point out that firefighters are dying in motor vehicle accidents at an alarming rate. They point out that although these professionals are wonderfully prepared for emergencies they become so focused on responding to the fire that they neglect to fasten their seat belts. They would never drive their personal vehicles without wearing seat belts, but the time scarcity of responding to the emergency causes them to “tunnel”, “to focus single mindedly on managing the scarcity at hand”.

The scarcity for those first responders is a lack of time. For many of us it is a lack of money. Our single minded focus on making this month’s payment can cause us to ignore the consequences of the further extension of credit, the cash advance, or the payday loan. One of the best ways to avoid this destructive and potentially financially fatal tunneling is to talk to a professional. A consultation with an objective party could help you stop the cycle of borrowing at punitive interest rates in order to survive the month. There may be alternatives to the vicious cycle you find yourself in and the professionals you speak to will not be surprised nor judgmental about your circumstances.

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