Erie County steps up tax collection

Erie County Treasurer Jo Dee Fantozz spends nearly half of her day pursuing delinquent taxpayers. That wasn't the case when s
Janet
May 24, 2010

Erie County Treasurer Jo Dee Fantozz spends nearly half of her day pursuing delinquent taxpayers.

That wasn't the case when she began working for the county in 1989.

The number of delinquent taxpayers in Erie County has increased in the last 10 years, she said.

Now every month Fantozz puts together a list of 10 delinquent taxpayers and turns those names over to prosecutor Trevor Hayberger.

"We're starting to pursue them much more aggressively," Fantozz said.

Fantozz estimates the county's cost to foreclose a property is $1,500-2,000.

That figure includes court filings, newspaper advertisements, title searches and appraisals.

"It costs us to foreclose," she said.

Delinquent taxpayers are given two years to catch up on payments before they are notified about their homes being foreclosed.

Fantozz is quick to add that she would rather "work with someone to get a payment plan together."

"My job and the prosecutor's job is not to take someone's house away," said Fantozz as she rubbed her face in her hands. "It's not a part of my job I enjoy."