A list of tax delinquents ran to nearly three pages in Thursday's Courier News, with individual amounts owed ranging from $79.47 to $30,713.14.
At a Dec. 6 tax lien sale, the city will try to recoup revenues by taking bids on the debts. Lien purchasers will pay the city the amount owed and property owners will then owe the purchaser, with interest up to 18 percent annually. Bidders must pre-register by Nov. 28 for the sale, which will take place at 10 a.m. Dec. 6 in City Hall Library.
Thursday's delinquent list included a City Council member, a school board member, a charter school, a couple of community development corporations and a prominent developer. The charter school missed a filing deadline to become exempt from taxes and is appealing the assessment, officials said.
All the amounts owed this time are for municipal taxes and Special Improvement District taxes, unlike previous sales that have been primarily for money owed to the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority.
Property taxes are the bedrock of Plainfield's budget, and the tax collection rate is important because the lower the rate, the higher the amount of reserve for uncollected taxes the city must keep on hand. In 2008, Tax Collector Maria Glavan was able to claim a 96.08 percent collection rate, up from a low of 93.32 percent in 2007. Rashid Burney, a councilman at the time, urged Glavan to reach for a 97 percent collection rate.
According to budget documents, the SFY 2010 rate dropped to 95.87 and the SFY 2011 rate was 94.85.
The city is in the process of shifting from a fiscal year budget running from July 1 to June 30 to a calendar year budget starting Jan. 1, 2012. The current six-month "transition year" was necessary to make the change.