New Castle County has secured record payments of delinquent property taxes and sewer fees, driving a historic high collections rate for county property taxes during the past two years, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced.
“Last year we took new action to ensure all property owners pay their taxes to fund the services our residents value and have collected more than 99.4 percent of 2018 county taxes and a record $16 million in delinquent taxes and fees, including more than $12 million for schools, in just the past seven months,”Meyer said.“We will continue building on this effort to preserve our low property tax rates while providing exceptional value to you from our lifesaving paramedics, police and 911 Center operations to parks, libraries and affordable housing programs.”
After the annual property tax payment deadline last October the county’s Office of Finance took steps to contact delinquent property owners by phone and in writing to arrange immediate payment for overdue taxes.
That effort secured $15.4millionin payments for short-term delinquent 2018 county and school district property taxes.These payments drove the 2018 county property tax collections rate to a record 99.45 percent,matching the 99.45 percent collections rate for county property taxes due in 2017.
In addition, Meyer announced the county’s first initiative to collect long-term delinquent taxes and fees through a third party agency has brought in more than $1 million, including $575,000 in delinquent sewer fees and $543,000 in county and school district property taxes.
Because school district property taxes account for more than 80 percent of local property taxescollected by New Castle County, the countysoughtthe partnership in an effort to increase collections while sharing administrative expenses. Long-term delinquencies – more than three years past due – are the most challenging to collect because of relocation, death, bankruptcy and changes in financial circumstances.
Collections of short-term delinquent 2018 property taxes from October 2018 through February 2019:
- $3.5 million in short-term delinquent county property taxes (83% reduction in delinquent 2018 county property taxes)
- $11.9 million in short-term delinquent school district property taxes (68% reduction in delinquent 2018 school district property taxes)
Collections of long-term delinquent taxes and fees from August, 2018 through February, 2019:
- $1,118,000 in long-term delinquent taxes and fees
- $122,000 in long-term delinquent county property taxes
- $421,000 in long-term delinquent school district property taxes
- $575,000 in long-term delinquent county sewer fees
Total collections of short- and long-term delinquent county and school district property taxes and sewer fees from August, 2018 through February 2019:$16.5 million.