FitzGerald Announces Delinquent Tax Task Force

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CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald announced today the creation of the Delinquent Tax Task Force, a group that will advise him on best practices for the collection of delinquent property taxes and other outstanding fees and taxes.

In addition to the county executive, the task force will include the county fiscal officer, the county treasurer, a member of the County Council, a representative of the Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council and representatives of other local government agencies.

“Cuyahoga County has one of the worst property tax collection rates in the state. Improving it by just a few percentage points will net tens of millions of dollars for schools, libraries and cities at a time when they desperately need help,” FitzGerald said.

Cuyahoga County has a property tax delinquency rate of about 15.2 percent, higher than all other large Ohio counties, including Franklin (7.9 percent) and Summit (8.7 percent). In addition, the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts office conservatively estimates that at least $15 million in court costs have gone unpaid.

The Task Force will be expected to identify an “amnesty” approach to collections, followed by tougher enforcement.

“We have a responsibility to make sure everyone is paying their fair share and playing by the same set of rules,” FitzGerald said. “But we also need to make sure we are doing so in a cost-effective, sensitive manner. My hope is that this task force can help us look at best practices.”