Millions owed to city in back taxes

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The citys budget shortages would not be so overbearing if residents just paid their taxes, documents reveal.

The coffers should be $10.5 million healthier than they are, according to a city council memo outlining delinquent taxes from 2005 to 2009. Thats enough money to run the Planning and Zoning Department for almost two years.

City council members make the list public each year, printing it in newspapers and other publications, essentially to embarrass people into paying whats owed.

In order to get your attention, I say youre out here and Im looking for you, said Laura Triggs, director of the citys Finance Department.

But the figure is not as large as it seems. Depending on the type of tax owed, Triggs may only collect 10 percent of whats advertised. If a company doesnt file its taxes, for instance, she sends them a bill estimating whats owed multiplied by up to 115 percent. Usually businesses owe less than that.

The law allows us to do it, so we take an aggressive approach, Triggs said. I dont expect more than 10 percent [for business personal property taxes] but if I dont bill them, I wont see that 10 percent. 

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