Dodge County is sitting on about $238,000 in unpaid property taxes, and county officials are thinking about publishing the names of people who owe in order to prompt payment.
The distress warrants summary, posted on Oct. 20, included amounts ranging from a few dollars up to more than $20,000 in unpaid property taxes.
"It's a lot of money that doesn't get put back on the tax rolls," Treasurer Cathy A. Dill said.
Supervisors on Wednesday officially received from Dill the list of distress warrants that have been turned over to the county sheriff for collection, then asked County Attorney Oliver Glass to research whether the county can publish the list, complete with names.
Supervisor Paul Marsh suggested publishing the list if it will help collect taxes, especially some that have not been paid for several years.
"I always look through these every year and a lot of the same people are on there and some of them are businesses," Marsh said.
By statute, the list is published with legal descriptions only, but names have not been included.
Dill said unpaid taxes "have been a thorn in my side since I took office."
"In all the years I've been here, that's been a frustrating thing, the personal property taxes," Marsh agreed.
Dill said late payers receive a notice from her office 20 days before they are turned over to the sheriff. State statute says distress warrants have to be turned over to the sheriff by Nov. 1.
Dill said she doesn't have figures illustrating how much the sheriff typically recovers, but in some counties sheriffs have been able to collect around 80 percent of the due taxes.
After nine months, unpaid warrants are then turned over to a collection agency, but they keep part of what they collect as their fee.
Marsh said eliminating even a few of them before they get to the collection agency would benefit the county.
County Clerk Fred Mytty pointed out the complete list is available on the county's web site, and is an attachment to the supervisors' agenda posted on line.