Taking stock of a pot of gold

There is a pot ‘o gold out there bigger than any leprechaun’s stash. It’s the more than $15 million owed to Sussex County and school districts in penalties, back taxes and fees. Imagine what they could do with that money.

Of the total, most of it (about $14 million) is owed in back property taxes with $7.8 million in arrears in school taxes. That’s about $1 million for each district in the county.

The county is serious about collecting the money and was able to bring in nearly $800,000 in property taxes and $400,000 in water and sewer fees during an amnesty program, which ended in March.

There is still a long way to go.

Sussex officials are looking at various ways to get their money. The most ambitious is an idea promulgated by Council President Vance Phillips who wants to publish the worst delinquent’s names on the county’s website.

The county has hired its first collections manager and officials have told staff that tax sales are OK to pursue. Nasty grams are going to be sent, and I’m sure some doors are going to be knocked on.

Here is another idea. There is a nice set of stocks in front of Citizens Bank on The Circle in Georgetown. Why not set up a time each week for the worst offenders to spend some time getting humiliated in public?

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One Response to “Taking stock of a pot of gold”

  1. Joan Deaver Says:

    Thanks for writing about this. If the county were a business, I bet those delinquent taxpayers would pay up soon. Businesses can hire collection agents or discount the bill & sell the accounts to one. Since our property taxes are some of the lowest in the US & most of the tax bill is for school taxes, there’s little excuse for not paying up.

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