TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Lucas County is owed millions of dollars in delinquent property taxes, and officials say the missing money is hurting county residents.
"If taxes aren't paid and those dollars aren't coming in at the local level, it does significantly impact the happenings in the district," said Toledo Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Jim Gault.
Toledo Public Schools has cut nearly $100 million dollars from its budget over the past four years, all while property owners owe tens of millions in taxes.
"They say times are tough. The economy is tough. I understand but the economy is also tough for the 90% of the people who do pay on time," said Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz.
Kapszukiewicz, along with his 25 person staff, is charged with collecting property taxes in the county.
"No one can say that a delinquent taxpayer doesn't have enough warning, doesn't have enough time, to make good on his or her obligations," said Kapszukiewicz.
But despite plenty of notice, several area businesses and individuals owe the county hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Dave Ball, owner of the east Toledo steam plant, owes the county $232,000. Although Ball declined to be interviewed, he says he expects his tax bill will be paid off by July.
Records show the Genesis Dreamplex, owned by the First Church of God, owes more than $343,000 in delinquent property taxes. Sources say a new owner could soon be taking over the property.
Kapszukiewicz says even though the county charges interest and fines, many property owners are delinquent for years. The county can also foreclose on homes or businesses taxes are owned on, but that process can take years.
"Even after a foreclosure action is initiated, the law being what it is, it can take two or three years to wind its way through common pleas court before the foreclosure can come to its conclusion," said Kapszukiewicz.
Although public schools receive funding from a variety of sources, Gault says TPS is hurting because the county is owned so much. "If you are delinquent, I think it's important that you support public education, support your community, and support the students in Toledo Public Schools," said Gault.
Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.
*This document contains the names of several non-profit organizations which are exempt from paying county property tax. Those names appear because approval of their tax exempt status for 2011 is pending.