New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced May 10 a partnership with school districts to collect long-term unpaid property taxes and sewer service fees.

This action occur after the county’s successful collection initiative last fall to improve collections of short-term delinquent property taxes after October’s annual tax payment deadline. That effort, comprising County Finance Office outreach to individual taxpayers via written and phone communications, secured an additional $1.5 million in payments and cut the short term property tax delinquency rate by 50 percent.

“County property taxes fund county police, paramedics and 911 communications, along with libraries, parks and the many services we provide to the public,” said Meyer. “You and I pay our property taxes and sewer fees. All of our neighbors must pay too. Do the right thing. Make arrangements to pay your past-due bill now or face additional fees and restrictions on your property.”

The county has collected more than 99 percent of property taxes due in 2017. Eighty-three percent of unpaid county property taxes are more than one year past due and more than half — 54 percent — are long term debts more than three years past due. Additionally, more than half of unpaid county sewer fees are more than one year past due and more than one quarter are more than three years delinquent.

In fall 2017, Meyer directed county staff to take new steps to collect these long term debts. Despite multiple and ongoing efforts by the county’s Office of Finance to make contact with property owners and sewer account holders, factors such as relocation, death, bankruptcy and changes in financial circumstances make long-term delinquent taxes and fees difficult to collect. After a competitive bidding process, New Castle County selected professional recovery consultants, an industry-leading collections agency with a proven track record, to assist in long-term delinquent collections of sewer and property tax bills.

New Castle County’s Office of Finance is responsible for collecting county sewer fees and county property taxes and school district property taxes. Because school district property taxes account for more than 80 percent of property taxes collected by the office of finance, New Castle County has partnered with each of the school districts that serve New Castle County in an effort to increase collections and to share the administrative expense of this collection initiative.

PRC will send written correspondence to taxpayers and initiate phone conversations and, after making contact, help taxpayers with repayment arrangements.

The New Castle County Office of Finance collections staff will continue to focus on processing tax payments and administering enhanced short-term delinquent collection efforts.

For more, email treasury@nccde.org or call 323-2600.