Brookfield Township has 6,780 taxable parcels and 909 of them are considered delinquent in paying local property taxes, said Trumbull County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa.
That’s 13 percent delinquent, which is comparable to the county average, he said.
Of those delinquent parcels, the owners of 255 owe less than $100, 138 are on a payment plan to pay what is owed, 120 are in the foreclosure process and 12 have been foreclosed on and turned over to the Trumbull County Land Bank, which wipes out the delinquency and allows the county to sell the properties to new owners, he said.
That leaves 384 “that I need to do something with,” he said.
And do, he will, Lamancusa said.
Lamancusa addressed Brookfield Board of Education on Feb. 20 at the invitation of Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor, who, with township Trustee Ron Haun, met with Lamancusa to talk about delinquencies.
With about $1 million unpaid in taxes in Brookfield, school board member Tim Filipovich asked if there was anything the school board can do, such as sending letters to delinquents and asking them to pay.
“There’s nothing that enables you to send a letter saying, go pay your taxes,” Lamancusa said.
“Let me send out the letters,” he said. “Let me do the work.”
By law, the country treasurer has to send out two tax bills a year, one for each half year of taxes owed, said Lamancusa, who entered the treasurer’s office in 2001, hired by former Treasurer Christ Michelakis.
If those bills are unpaid, Trumbull sends out a third bill, one of only four counties to do so, he said.
“It’s a pretty harsh letter,” Lamancusa said, and goes out whether a property owner owes $5 or $5,000. “I have to explain to people that I can’t write a different letter for every situation.”
Inaction following the third billing results in a letter from the foreclosure department saying the taxpayer has 15 days to take action or a foreclosure action will commence, he said.
“You’ll see in here (letter) we’re always asking, ‘Contact us.’ ‘Get a hold of us,’” Lamancusa said. “When they come and see us, we’re gonna put them in what we call a contract plan.”
The contract plan is a payment plan in which the delinquency is paid off in 10 installments, and the taxpayer agrees to keep current on new taxes owed.
“As long as they stay current in that payment plan, they pay no penalty, they pay no interest,” Lamancusa said. “There’s no charges to be in the payment plan. All it does is help them to get caught back up. Helps us get the money collected and distributed to you all.”
The biggest reasons for tax delinquency are loss of employment, health care costs and divorce, he said.
The treasurer says he does not sell tax liens – in which companies pay a percentage of what is owed to the county and then try to collect from delinquent taxpayers – because these companies only want certain properties, the ones that Lamancusa said he would rather foreclose on because the properties are marketable.
Through payment plans and foreclosures that result in property sales, the treasurer’s office is doing a good job in collecting taxes and making properties that have been delinquent produce taxes again, he said.
Lamancusa noted that the number of properties “that I need to do something with” has fallen by about 100 since the fall.
In terms of what that means for the school district, he said he collected more than $4.9 million last year.
“I’d say we’re gonna hit $5 million this year,” he said.
In Yankee Lake Village, 13 of 162 land parcels are tax-delinquent, said Trumbull County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa.
In five of those delinquencies, the amount owed is less than $100, and one is on a payment plan.