July 16, 2013
The Carroll County Board of Supervisors took another step forward July 8 in attempting to collect approximately $1.8 million in delinquent real estate taxes.
During the board’s July 8 meeting, Supervisor Sam Dickson recalled that the county has asked for a list of delinquent taxes, which was recently delivered by Treasurer Bonita Williams.
“I think there is some totals in here that will look good for the county when we start collecting it,” Dickson said, adding after the meeting the list included about $1.8 million in delinquent real estate taxes. “So I guess it is given to us for review and then we will come back and act further with it, and hopefully we can turn it over for collection. We are very pleased to get the list. I want to thank her very much, her and her staff for doing this. It wasn’t anything personal. It will be an asset to the county to be able to get those funds.”
Dickson said the county has been accused of not trying to collect delinquent taxes in the past. Although taxes have to be at least two years past due to be considered delinquent, he told The Carroll News supervisors want to make sure to collect as much as possible.
“From what the auditor tells us, if it is 20 years old it drops off. We don’t want that to happen anymore,” Dickson said. “If memory serves right, we lost about $400,000 last year on that drop-off.”
Dickson asked County Attorney Jim Cornwell the amount of delinquent taxes he has been able to collect. Cornwell said the treasurer gave him three groups of properties to collect for delinquent taxes. The first group included 54 properties. Of those 54 properties, 22 have been paid, five are on payment plans, there are two title issues, and five were removed from the list by the treasurer. Five of the properties are in the Cascade Mountain development and seven are in the Dogwood Mountain development.
“And we are holding those trying to get adjacent properties so we can make something of them because the lots are so small. And we have seven suits pending or in bankruptcy,” Cornwell said. “Of those 54, we collected $90,819.78, and that is net for the county.”
Cornwell said the treasurer also gave the county a list of properties from one particular developer. There were 72 parcels owned by that developer, who paid a total of $30,846.37 to redeem those properties from sale, the county attorney added.
The final group included an additional 58 properties, 33 of which have been paid, eight that are on payment plans, one that was removed from the list by the treasurer, and 16 that are part of pending lawsuits, one of which is in bankruptcy. In total, the county attorney collected $154,272.61 on this group of properties.
“The total we collected from the three groups of properties is $275,938.76,” Cornwell said. “This does not include attorney’s fees or any costs to the county.”
Cornwell said the county adopted a policy for the collection of delinquent taxes in 2011. The policy calls for the treasurer to furnish a list of delinquent taxes to the county within 60 days of the end of each fiscal year. The policy also allows the county to publish a list of delinquent taxes.
“I have nothing else to say about delinquent taxes until we look at this, and then we will take steps forward to turn it over to the county attorney,” Dickson said.
Board Chairman David Hutchins said another delinquent tax discussion would be put on the supervisors’ meeting agenda for August.