(SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan.) — Residents owe Sedgwick County more than $24 million in delinquent taxes for the last three years. That's about double what the county deficit is projected to be. So you may wonder, why doesn't the county just collect and balance the budget? The county treasurer says it's not that easy.
If you haven't paid taxes on your personal property like a boat or camper, you'll be getting a not so friendly reminder next week. "It's something new, thought it might help get people's attention," said Sedgwick County Treasurer Linda Kizzire. For the first time, she's using bold red lettering to say you're delinquent. "I want people to know they do owe those taxes and its imperative they do get those paid, so we can continue to provide those services of sheriff, fire and Comcare. Services the residents of Sedgwick County have come to expect," she said.
If you don't pay your personal property taxes, the county will keep you from getting a new tag for your vehicle. But when it comes to real estate taxes, the situation is more difficult. "We can't just go out and foreclose on your home," she said. State law lets property owners fall behind almost four years before the county can step in. And delinquent real estate and personal property taxes add up. More than $3 million is still owed from 2007, $7 million from 2008 and almost $13 from 2009.
"That money would make a difference," said Sedgwick County chairman Dave Unurh. The county would like that money considering just one year of delinquent taxes equals the amount of this year's expected budget shortfall. "This is going to be a difficult budget season."