City Collector Debbie Kelley wants aldermen to weigh in on disposition of past due debts owed to the city, some that date back 30 years.
Kelley presented four lists of delinquent debts to aldermen April 2, as required by state statute.
The lists included unpaid water bills, uncollected liens against property that changed hands after liens were placed, bills for cutting untended grass and for supplies provided for nuisance abatement, as well as personal property and real estate taxes.
The 2019 list of delinquent debts totaled $70,704, including $10,967 in old property liens, $10,264 in delinquent sewer and water bills, $22,564 in past due personal property taxes, and $26,909 in delinquent real estate taxes.
Alderman Ed Gas questioned whether the city might be able to collect some of the old debts, but the board took no action.
Mayor Steve Myers said he and City Administrator Steve Roth would meet with Kelley and review the lists. At press time he said due to his work schedule he’s not had time to meet with the collector.
Kelley has previously asked the board to allow her to present the old liens to an aldermanic committee with the hope of forgiving the liens and getting them off the books, but City Attorney Bob Jones advised aldermen that the liens should remain as a debt against the property until they are paid.
The debts were for special tax bills levied against property owners in 1990, 1995 and 2001 for the demolition and hauling away debris of a dangerous building.
The properties were later sold, but the liens were not satisfied at the time of the sale and current property owners say they were not advised of the liens when they purchased the property. They feel that the title company should have provided notice that liens were on the properties and that the former owners should have had to pay off the liens before the sale was concluded.
Kelley would like the board of aldermen to review details of the liens and the property owners’ requests and make a determination on how to proceed. She said the public works department handles delinquent sewer and water bills for current residents by shutting off service to the property for nonpayment.
But the $10,264 in unpaid water bills were incurred by people who later moved away, or companies that went out of business but the amounts owed remain on the books as delinquent debts.
Among the debts are $7 and $30 water bills for service provided to people in 2001 who have moved. Also included in the list are water bills as high as $1,000 for businesses that no longer exist.
“Because the board took no action, I interpret that they want me to continue to try to collect the debts,” Kelley said. “I would like for a committee to look at the list and make a determination.”
Pacific property owners, residents and former residents owe the city a total of $26,909 in real estate taxes and $22,564 in personal property taxes.
Delinquent Real Estate Taxes include $18,638 for 2018, $5,060 for 2017, $2,596 for 2016, $540 for 2015 and $72 for 2014.
Franklin County collects real property taxes for the city. Any real property for which taxes have not been paid for three years is offered for sale, said County Collector Doug Trentmann.
The county does not take action against individuals or businesses that owe personal property taxes.
Delinquent personal property taxes include $16,860 for 2018, $2,789 for 2017, $1,007 for 2016, $855 for 2015, $740 for 2014, $162 for 2013 and $88 for 2014.
Like the old water bills, individuals who no longer live in the city owe some of the unpaid personal property taxes.