REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Go after overdue tax money

A couple million here, a couple million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money, Sen. Everett Dirksen said once.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

A couple million here, a couple million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money, Sen. Everett Dirksen said once.

In Erie County, though, a couple million in arrears is, in fact, real money.

That's how much Erie County's leading delinquent property tax payers owe the county, according to the county treasurer's office.

And in a county and economic climate where a $100,000 or so in conveyance fees from one land sale was enough to have county commissioners turning verbal handsprings and individual landowners are increasingly loath to say yes to new tax requests, $2.2 million is a lot to leave laying around.

There are many reasons for the arrears, some beyond the property owners' control. The two leading delinquencies, for example, are because of sewer lines laid in hopes of development that never materialized.

The county has the option to foreclose; in fact, it's about the only option -- and eight are eligible, according to the county's criteria.

And the county should pursue -- if not foreclosure, then arrangements to get the tax paid.

At the very least, a concerted effort to collect a couple million dollars' worth of overdue property taxes might -- we said might -- lessen the sting of the next request for a property tax increase.