Collection agency to go after long-term New Castle County property tax scofflaws

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New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announcedthe use of a collection agency to deal with aging delinquent property taxes and sewer fees.

The program is a joint effort of the county and school districts. Districts are the recipients of about eighth tenths of the property tax bill.

This action follows the County’s successful collection initiative last fall to improve collections of short-term delinquent property taxes following October’s annual tax payment deadline.

The effort, consisting of County Finance Office outreach to individual taxpayers via written and phone communications, secured an additional $1.5 million in payments and cut the short-term property tax delinquency rate by 50 percent.

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“County property taxes fund county police, paramedics, and 911 communications, along with libraries, parks and the many services we provide to the public,”said County Executive Matt Meyer. “You and I pay our property taxes and sewer fees. All of our neighbors must pay too. Do the right thing. Make arrangements to pay your past-due bill now or face additional fees and restrictions on your property.”

The county has already collected over 99 percent of property taxes due in 2017. Eighty-three percentof unpaid county property taxes are more than one year past due and more than half (54 percent) are long-term debts more than three years past due.

Also, more than half of unpaid county sewer fees are more than one year past due and more than one quarter are more than three years delinquent.

Last fall, County Executive Meyer directed county staff to take new steps to collect the long-term debts. Despite efforts by the Office of Finance to make contact with property owners and sewer account holders, factors such as relocation, death, bankruptcy and changes in financial circumstances make long-term delinquent taxes and fees the most difficult to collect.

After a competitive bidding process, New Castle County selected Professional Recovery Consultants (PRC) to assist in long-term delinquent collections of sewer and property tax bills.

New Castle County’s Office of Finance is responsible for collecting county sewer fees and both county property taxes and school district property taxes.

Because school district property taxes account for more than 80 percent of property taxes collected by the office of finance, New Castle County has partnered with each of the school districts that serve New Castle County in an effort to increase collections and to share the administrative expense of thecollection initiative.

Under the direction of the New Castle County Office of Finance, PRC will send written correspondence to taxpayers and initiate phone conversations and, after making contact, help taxpayers with repayment arrangements.

PRC has worked with numerous state and local governments to reduce their delinquent tax obligations.

The New Castle County Office of Finance collections staff will continue to focus on processing tax payments and administering enhanced short-term delinquent collection efforts.

Property owners who have questions can contact the New Castle County Office of Finance attreasury@nccde.organytime or call (302) 323-2600Mondaythrough Friday from8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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