Putnam County Deputy Treasurer and Treasurer-elect Sharon Owens told county commissioners Monday changing the way the county's main operating account was set up resulted in added revenue last year.
Owens got some advice from local bankers about setting up trust accounts for the main operating account and cash management trust for the county. This resulted in an additional $209,731 for the county.
"We usually have a minimum of $2 million in the main operating account. If we just left it alone it would have earned $76,422.95 in interest. By changing the account, we were able to earn $286,154.29," Owens told the commissioners.
Changing the emergency management account also resulted in an additional $18,076.18 for the 911 Center. And changing the savings accounts on CDs resulted in an additional $227,807.52 in interest.
That was the good news. The bad news is that with falling interest rates Owens is looking for other ways to save money.
"The first five months of last year we made $11,633.79. With the lower rates this year we have only earned $328.46 in the same five months this year," she reported.
Positive steps toward having the annual tax sale have also been taken, according to Owens.
"Tax sale notices were sent out to 1,864 people. This is $2,105,000 in delinquent property taxes. About half have paid at least enough to get off the sale list," said Owens.
"There are still 925 parcels on the tax sale list. We've collected over $1 million in taxes so far," she said.
The next step in the process is to send certified letters to those who are still delinquent. They have a due date of July 24. A tax sale will then be set up for sometime between the end of July and November 10.
"The interest earned on the money collected would be significant," said Owens.
Despite a mandate saying counties must have a tax sale every year, Putnam County has not had one since 2005.
"Three or four years of back taxes plus the penalties makes it a lot harder for people to come up with the money," added Owens.
Once a property has been sold in the tax sale, the original owner has one year to retrieve it. The purchaser of the property receives a percent of money back and can file a form to have their expenses reimbursed also," said County Attorney Scott Hoff.
Owens will take over as treasurer in January 2010.