Harrison tackling delinquent taxes

CADIZ – The Harrison County commissioners on Wednesday heard from county Assistant Prosecutor Michael Washington concerning delinquent tax accounts.

“Four hundred packets of letters went out yesterday to various individuals that are on the delinquent tax list,” Washington stated. “I have provided a packet of approximately 25 letters to the county recorder, auditor and treasurer’s offices to assist our office in locating a mailing address and/or the proper owner of several properties and other taxable interests.”

Washington explained one delinquent account that was formerly billed under the name of the Verizon North could net the county a significant payback if the current owner can be located,

“Cash revenues that they owe is close to, if not exceeding, about half a million dollars and what we need right now is to get a good mailing address for that so we can proceed in sending them letters and do some following up with the appropriate action on those particular taxable interests,” he said.

“There are several other I have pulled out that also have that issue as far as not having a name or not having an address,” Washington continued. “I just wanted to make everyone here aware that the prosecutor’s office is working on this problem and we are asking for the help of the recorder, auditor and treasurer to assist us in finding the right people to send letters to.”

“We can not find them either,” responded Treasurer Vicki Sefsick.

“Verizon North may be in Frontier’s name now and was not transferred in the auditor’s office,” explained Washington. “I am asking you all to help us out here.”

Asked about the time limits on delinquent accounts before the county can sell the property, Washington said, “You can’t sell it without court involvement. You can’t sell it without notice by publication as well, but the important thing is the purpose of the tax sale isn’t necessarily to sell property, it is to increase revenue. If we get the right people involved, this is a major corporation and all they need to do is get the bill and they will pay it.”

In other business:

Sheriff Sheriff Ronald J. Myers told commissioners the new parking lot on the site of the former Heinz building was an issue, which he told commissioners should be immediately addressed.

“Especially now with the thawing, the parking lot is sinking,” Myers explained. “We should put up some signage that explains that the county is not liable for vehicles or damages in that lot.”

Myers said his department has taken requests to find vehicle owners from license plate numbers of vehicle parking on the street which blocks the entrance to the lot. “That is not our responsibility, if a truck driven by a title searcher blocks you in, then you will need to find another ride to lunch,” he said.

“We have witnessed vehicles driving over the curb and it is just a matter of time before someone rips off a front bumper or something,” Myers warned. “We need to do something before someone ends up in the basement.”

County Recorder Tracy Boyer told the board she had purchased six new computers but had no room to put them. Commissioner Don Bethel stated there was a plan he would discuss with the recorder following the meeting, and the board could take action on it the two parties were in agreement.

Commissioners approved a conditional agreement for road use with Ohio Gathering and Washington and Nottingham townships. The agreement will cover 1.95 miles of county Road 2, known as Deersville Road; 1.45 miles of county Road 2 known as Moravian Trail; 0.75 miles of Main Street in Deersville; 1.8 miles of county Road 55; 2.2 miles of county Road 21; 5.45 mi. of county Road 6; 0.65 miles of county Road 16; and 0.7 miles of county Road 10.