Work to end tax delinquencies without closures

The failure by some property owners to pay their fair share of taxes is not a new problem, nor is it a problem unique to Trumbull County.

Regular Tribune Chronicle readers already know this is true because for decades this newspaper annually publishes pages and pages of delinquent property taxes owed on thousands of parcels of land in Trumbull County. We likely will be publishing that annual list again next month.

Certainly, law-abiding residents who pay their taxes to support local government operations have every right to know who, in their community, falls short on their tax responsibilities.

Tax delinquency is a very serious problem, and residents in Champion Township have every right to demand action on those property owners who don’t pay their fair share — just like those in Girard who made similar demands in recent months — as well as those in dozens of other local communities.

Sadly, though, demanding action and payment, creating liens and taking over public ownership of property with large delinquencies doesn’t necessarily equate to instant payment of taxes, and sometimes this type of action even can lead to closure of businesses, more blight and costly upkeep at the expense of the taxpayer.

We think it is critical for officials in local townships and municipalities, along with those in the Trumbull County Treasurer’s office, to continue bringing pressure and attention to this matter. They are right to ask for help from Trumbull County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa and to work together to find ways to encourage payment plans for owed back taxes when it’s possible or other ways to ensure payment of back taxes.

The goal always should be to successfully collect delinquent taxes — without triggering unnecessary closures, vacancies and increased blight.