A Matter Of Timing

Earlier notifications and new software for tax delinquencies have pushed the county’s coffers up $284,000 from the year before.

Warren County Treasurer Dennis Munksgard and County Fiscal Director Paul Pascuzzi told the Warren County Commissioners at their meeting Wednesday morning that shifting notices for collection from July to June resulted in an increase of collection of delinquent taxes from the year before by $284,000.

“The treasurer and I took at look – this number keeps growing, why is it growing, why is it getting so favorable this year for us? And we found that through his actions in tax claim the delinquent taxes are ahead of where they were last year at this time by $284,000,” Pascuzzi said.

In the first six months of the year, the office collected $704,000 in tax collections; last year in the same period it was $420,000, Pascuzzi said.

Notices for delinquent taxes were sent out in July the previous two years and this year, “I sent the notices out in the first of June, we have a large collection in the month of June and that’s what pulled the numbers to where we are now,” Munksgard said.

He estimates there will be a four percent increase from the year before in collections.

“So basically right now it’s a timing issue but with the implementation of the new software we’re able to do more things more efficiently and get mailings out and work with the people. I’m helping them work through paying their taxes and helping them understand they can pay partial payments that they don’t have to wait until they are up against the wall with the tax sale to come up with a large amount of money,” he said.

His office has also been working with residents to understand what costs will be involved if they continue to let taxes remain unpaid and how they will incur more costs if they have to advertise and send out notices.

“We have had a number of people that have gone to paying a little more up front and that’s helped with collections. But the main driver is the timing issue,” he said.

“And as a result of that management we’re starting to see at this time an increase in our cash position,” said Commissioner John Bortz. “I think the treasurer’s department and the fiscal department should be congratulated with regards to these efforts.”

The treasurer’s office is also able to print out a receipt that includes how much was paid and what the remaining balance due is. Before, the receipt only showed the amount paid.

“Previously our prior system, that wasn’t there, you only got a receipt for what you paid,” Munksgard said. “In general, people have been really appreciative of helping them understand, helping them know they can pay partial payments to make it easier than trying to come up with, two or three, $4,000 up against the sale.”

Pascuzzi also said the general fund is currently at $644,981 in cash with a $2.5 million draw down on the tax anticipation note; last year at the same time the cash balance was $451,669 with $3 million drawn from the tax anticipation note.

“This is a win-win all the way around. They don’t pay as much in fees and additional charges because they paid earlier and we don’t have to take money out of our tax anticipation note, so we don’t pay interest on that. This is a win-win all the way around for everybody,” Commissioner John Eggleston said.