Delinquent taxpayers owe the county $13 million. That’s a huge sum, especially considering the county’s budgetary problems in recent years.
It’s not fair to county employees whose hours have been cut back, and it’s also not fair to the people who pay their taxes on time.
There’s also a problem with the county not having current addresses for many landowners. Officials say 10,000 letters are returned to the county for that reason.
We think several things could be done to change this situation. First, there ought to be fines imposed on people who don’t inform counties that land has changed hands.
Secondly, we think the state ought to be a bit more diligent in auctioning off land owned by the folks who haven’t paid their taxes in four or five years. We think absentee landowners are much more likely to be in that category than people who live in the valley. The people who live here would then have the opportunity to buy land and return it to taxpaying status.
With a smaller staff working fewer hours, it’s hard for county personnel to keep track of such landowners. But surely the county commission should be thinking about spending a little money to make a lot more by putting employees to work tracking down these deadbeat non-taxpayers.
Valencia County isn’t alone in this problem. Perhaps we should be asking candidates for statewide office what they think about this problem.