Cortland County Lawmakers Consider Audit of Delinquent Tax Installment Program
Cortland County lawmakers are looking at hiring an outside firm to conduct an audit of delinquent property tax installment plans. The proposal comes after the county was faulted in a state audit for not having a better handle on the program.
According to the audit, Cortland County could be owed as much as $600 thousand dollars in back taxes that are either not being paid or collected through the delinquent tax installment program.
Currently, the County Treasurer’s Office allows property owners who fall behind in their land taxes to pay off the back taxes through payment plans. The owners have two years to get caught up on their back taxes before the property is supposed to be foreclosed by the county and sent to auction.
The state audit and previous independent county audits have found that when property owners don’t adhere to the terms of payment plan little is done. It often takes several years for the properties to be foreclosed on. In the meantime, those county taxpayers that pay their property taxes on time are making up for the lost revenue.
County Administrator Martin Murphy proposed hiring Monroe County based Bonadio Group to audit the program to find out how many properties are not in compliance and how much the county is owed so the Treasurer’s Office and the County Attorney can begin going after those delinquent funds or begin preparing the properties for auction.
Lawmakers on the Budget Committee rejected the proposal, instead they want Murphy and County Treasurer Cindy Monroe to develop a request for proposals to compare auditing firms to make sure the county is getting the best price for the review. Bonadio had proposed doing the work for about $18 thousand dollars.
Murphy was unsure when he would be able to solicit proposals and expressed frustration that lawmakers did not act on his recommendation.