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The Tax Collector 's Office --and Costs

Otherwise known as "Adventures in Accounting "

 

12-09 The November Elections have come and gone - though I started a year before them to try & discern the tax collector's income and what we really pay totally to collect our taxes, I failed to get any clear cut picture - I was given the budget book, the audit pages and a variety of things - none of which told the WHOLE story .  If you can fill in any blanks , please do - it's all at the bottom of the page.

8-09   See below for a layout of the overall tax office responsibilities, which I will update as I receive more information. 

Do Abington taxpayers  deserve to have an accurate picture of the tax office ?????  I have been trying to do that since Fall 08 and have been  given the royal run -around . In a township that has at least twice had tax office irregularities and even a tax collector that earned a prison term, I find this inexcusable.    I cannot get a straight answer out of anyone with a  single figure for the complete cost of collecting all our taxes & the percentages collected - not from my  Commissioner, tax collector, nor township manager .  One figure. One I think they should know & would compare & manage or oversee as new candidates came to the job .

     As candidates are chosen, the parties that are endorsing them should also be privy to this information and know how their candidates planned to stream-line the office or offer an improved service.  In the discourse so far for the up-coming election, I heard no such information re the over-all duties.

  My queries were  directed originally to the budget for answers, from which the answer is not readily discernable. I am now being directed, after months & months  of partial answers, to the audit report - who knows how many pages at 25 cents a page . Will the answer even be there? There is supposed to be a summary sheet of sorts in there .
    
          I was more interested in knowing that my Commissioner & manager KNEW the cost ---- that there was some oversight going on with our funds.  If they do know it and are refusing to divulge it, shame on them . To  residents and media personnel  I ask ----- will this be a feature of the squaring off of the candidates.......???? 

It will be up to you .

______________________________________

Here's  what we've got so far....... as of 12-09

TAXES & FEES SUMMARY    
  loosely using  mostly  2008 & some 2009   figures as they were made available


QUESTIONS
Does Tax Collector have benefits package?.............._________????????
Do tax office employees have benefits packages?
The Tax Collector hired another new person  in 2009  - how much were tax office salaries increased ?
Was his Workload increased  --- Were additional duties added?
The tax collector gave back 17,000 in (2008? ) according to a campaign letter by his wife  circa 10-09 - why & to whom?
    How many hours a day does the tax collector actually put in to this job He has several other jobs either volunteer or pay
     -if he has to hire an additional person in the office  because he is working elsewhere and collecting other salaries &
      benefits that is cost to us -  he recently added another employee to the tax office. Were additional duties added?


Why is the tax office duty done in this manner rather than bid out? Some of these are required by 1st class township code    -------Do we have an option to change the way that works? 
Act 511 taxes  are not required to be collected by tax collector  We reduced our % on some of these taxes in 09 from 3 to  2.5  but then we had an increase in the expenses
If we pay a % why do we also pay for postage,  materials etc.

 

THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET AN OVERVIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT  

  TAX BASE (Real Estate Value)                     
 
Township RE   3,384,598,864   (3.3 Billion)  reg due  12,174, 213  interims  20,179   prior interims   3,679  = 12,198,71
 County             3,384,598,864   (3.3 Billion)  reg due    9,121,325   interims  14,937   prior interims   2,910
  =   9,139 172
  School            3,388,215,119   (3.3 Billion)  reg due   88,041,904  interims 220,271  prior interims  55,103  =  88,317,278

     OVERVIEW                     * AMT DUE        ( elsewhere as)       COLLECTED          OUTSTNDNG       % COLLECTD                  
Real EstateTax (w/Fire).. 12,198,71   audit   12,000,000 budg bk      11,975,121 audit    ____________       
Sewer Fees …………        7,471,949  audit    8,806,383 budg bk        7,356,581 audit     ____________   
Refuse Fees …………      4,871,856  audit     5,584,454 budg bk       4,771,536  audit    ____________        
Local ServicesTax.……                                   1,000,000 budg bk      _____________     ____________               
Bus Priv  & Merc Tax....                                   5,400,000 budg bk      ___ _________      ____________        
Waste Generation Fee        193,591 audit         xxxxxxx                         191,749  audit     ____________               
Permits/Inspections…..   .                                  xxxxxxx                     _____________     ____________     
In-Lieu-Of Taxes..…….  .                                   500,000  budg bk      _____________      ____________      
Earned Income .……… ..                                 6,250,000 ???            _____________       ____________                
Realty Transfer Tax…..                                    1,000,000  budg bk     _____________      ____________               
School Taxes………….... 88,317,278 audit     xxxxxxxxxx                 86,288,772 audit
County Taxes ………….    9,139,172 audit      xxxxxxxxx                    8,972,280 audit       ____________       
  
 
TOTAL TAXES & FEES                                                                       ____________       __ญญ___________  


 

THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT  ________________________
REAL ESTATE TAXES (& Fire) $ 10,357,013  due --- ?collected by Tax Collector  
We pay : TWP Millage = 3.637 x assessment
( General 1.83 / Fire .567 / Library .43 / Debt .40 / Permanent Improvements .15/ Ambulance.01 / Parks&Rec .25  )
Township pays wages  to Tax Collector to collect RE taxes ...............................................................$  10,000 .
Township expenses paid separately on behalf of RE taxes
          Materials (forms, envelopes) RE txs ……………$  4,400
          Postage RE  ……………………………….………$  5,000
          Computer (hard & soft maint & uogrades ……...$   5,000
          Computer Time ……………………………..........$ 11,812
          Insurance RE txs  ………………………………...$  2.400
          Social Security (twp’s share) RE txs…………... $     765      
          Legal ……………………………………………….$ _____
          Bond ………………………………………………..$ 1,400
          Audit ………………………………………………..$ _____
          Medical …………………………………………….$ _____
          Total Pd by Township TO Others for Real Estate Taxes………… ……………………………..…..$  30,777  
          Township cost to manage &  to pay these expenses…..……………………….………………….…$??????????????

 

________________________
SEWER  FEES   
$____________ due collected by Tax Collector  
We pay based on Water useage = gallons ( special for commercial? )   
REFUSE FEES   
$____________ due collected by Tax Collector  
We pay based on size of Can or special for commercial  $264 or more
TOTAL Sewer & Refuse Commission paid to Tax Collector ……………………….................................$  12,000
_______________________

THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT

LST  TAX (Local Services Tax) - 511 Tax $_________ due collected by Tax Collector  
We pay: Each employee in the Township pays -  $52.00 per employee  
Township pays Tax Collector  Commission   at rate of (2.5%) …………...………………………………$   see BPT
Township expenses paid for BPT/LST taxes
    Materials  BPT/LST …………………………. $  4,000 
    Postage  BPT/LST …………………………....$  2,650
    Computer BPT/LST …………………………..$  1,500 
    Insurance BPT/LST …………………………. $ ____
    Social Security BPT/LST  ........................... $  ____    
    Legal     BPT/LST ……………………….. .….$  1,000  
    Bond… BPT/LST  …& sewer & refuse)….…$   1, 700
    Audit Services BPT/LST  listed 2 places as  $ 12,000 
      also listed  as $7,200 &  probably includes
       annual audit listed by SM as 3,850
    Medical....………………………………….......$ ______
    TOTAL expenses paid BY Township to Others for BPT/LST taxes : ………………….………………...$  22,850
Township cost to manage &  to pay BPT/LST expenses…..……………………….………………………..$ ???????????
 ________________________
BPT (Mercantile & Business Priviledge) - 511 Tax
-$5,400,00 due - collected by Tax Collector  
BPT 3.5million   Mercantile 1.9 million   =5.4 million x2.5% up to 3 million  and 3.0% over 3 million
Businesses Pay : RETAIL  .0015  WHOLESALE .001   SERVICE  .004    of gross receipts
Township pays  Tax Collector  commission @ 2.5% for Mercantile  & Business Taxes ………………… $ !84,638 incl LST
       *This is listed In one place in budget as $184,638 & on a different budget  page as $160,050
         and listed on SM's sheet  as $159,250
_______________________
CERTIFICATIONS & OTHER FEES
( Mortgage Companies paid this approximate amount to Tax Collector.................................................$  43,586
(This is  to Process direct withdrawals for property taxes and coordinate tax
    escrow amounts - Not sure if it includes any other certifications requested.
    This is not a cost to the Township but represents $ mortgage co's receive
     from their clients )

 

 

 

_______________________  
MISC OTHER TAXES , FEES or COSTS  ????
PAID TO TAX COLLECTOR
Other Commissions ,Certifications, Fees not elsewhere listed…$_________
Reimbursements  ( from Audit ) ……………………………………$  11,222
Rent Break …………………………..……………………………....$  3,600
Interest Income   on business account ……………………………$   711
 TOTAL MISC COSTS Pd by Township to Tax Collector……………………………………………………..$ 15,533

PAID TO OTHERS  :
Audit Costs ……………………………………………...………..  $  see BPT
Delinquency Legal Costs …(Portnoff)……………………………$ ???? ############ how are these done? #########
Other Delinquency fees or costs …………………………………$  _____
Other Legal Costs ……………………………………………..…..$  ______
Computer Costs …………………………………………………...$  ______
Other ………………………………………………………………...$ ______

TOTAL MISC COSTS Pd by Township  to others ……………………..……………………………..$ ?????? + delinquencies
Township cost to manage &  to pay these expenses…..……………………….………………….…$ ______

THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT

________________________
PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS  
$ _______ collected by dept personnel
Most of these fees used to be part of our taxes . Then the existing fees were increased and used to run the zoning/code enforcement dept, which runs largely on them today & other depts.  They are paid by the individuals and businesses that use these services and the intent is to have the people who use the services pay the cost. However, the activity of the zoning/code enforcement dept & the other depts that charge these fees extends beyond simply processing these requests - so an inquiry into the breakdown of the income related  is warranted to get an overall view of our taxes & fees.

Amounts received……………………………………………………$_______
cost of collection ……………???....…………………………..….. $________
________________________
IN-LIEU-OF TAX PAYMENTS 
$500,000  collected?? Only $390 shows up as a revenue source
 in the Budget book - yet
13% of Abington properties are tax exempt per budget book  
     -agreements with them have yielded an annual   payment of over $500,000. ??????
   ( is this the "value" of whatever was "given" -rather than cash since only $390 shows up as a revenue source  p21or 23 )
in 2010 budget the figure of 414,000 was used for "In Lieu of" taxes and it was explained that they were about 75% of what they would pay  normally. 
_______________________       
EIT (Earned Income Tax)  - $ 6,250,000  due- collected by Berkheimer  
Each Employee  pays 1%  ( .5 %  goes to township  .5% goes to school )
Commission to Berkheimer to collect  . (1.75%)   …………………………………......$_.$ 109,000  ????
Other fees or expenses paid to or for Berkheimer………………… …………..……….$_________
= Township pays Commission to Berkheimer  to collect  EIT………..  …………………………………… .$ 109,000  ???

_______________________
REALTY  TRANSFER TAXES 
amt due $____ Collected by __?
TOTAL ……………………………………………..…………………………………..........................……...$  _______????????
Not sure how these are collected.
______________________________________
Utility Realty Tax    ( cell towers renting land from us )

TOTAL    ……not instituted til 09   $7000 expected in 09 per 10-22-09 Budget Workshop
 ______________________
THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT

 

SCHOOL TAXES amt due .$_________  collected by tax collector
Millage = 27.09  x assessment
School paid wages to Tax Collector...................................................................................$ 35,500  (approx)
            $
30,000   given by SK
         ( Rockledge Tax Collector receives $3,960)
   School Additional Tax Costs
        Legal ………………………………………….$  ____
           ( Rockledge …….?)  
         Bonding of Tax Collector …………………...$ ____
           ( Rockledge …….?) 
         Audit ………………………………………….$  ____
           (Rockledge …….?) 
        Medical ……………………………………….$ 14,000
           These were mentioned at 2/09 schl brd mtg
           (Rockledge …….?) 
        Expenses  for non mandated services ……$  4,000
          ( Rockledge up to 1800 for Non-Mandated  )
        Bond service  ……………………………….  $ 10,028
         ( Rockledge  1,278 Mandated Expense) 
        Tax Forms  Abington ………………………  $   3,300
         ( Rockledge 410 Mandated Expense  )
        Postage ……………………………………….$  6,850  
         (Rockledge  $610 Mandated Expense  )
        Computer Costs ……………………………...$  9,300
         (Rockledge -Mandated Expense         
        Installment Option for taxes  ………………..$  5,500
         ( Rockledge…?)
        TOTAL ADDITIONAL COSTS paid by School to others ………………………………
.$ __________ (45,000  thus far)

   In (Feb?)  09 Tax Collector  rec'd approval of an inflation rider from Schl Board
________________________
COUNTY TAXES
      amt  due …………$_________ collected by tax collector
We pay County Mills 2.659 x assessment
Other fees, expenses,wages paid to or for TaxCollector……… ........ $ 77,737
 =TC commission, or other monies  for County taxes……………………$ ______
 TOTAL COUNTY TAXES PD ……………………………………………………………………………………..$ _______

 
________________________

THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT  

WASTE GENERATION FEE   amt  due …………$_________  collected by tax collector
  Whoever pays - they pay 193,591 per audit report . This was never mentioned in requests
about TC income  prior to 8-09

THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT

 

 

 

TAX OFFICE ACCOUNTING

Expenses :
Salaries staff of 4 .(or 5?) . (from audit)................. .$ 123,387
       SK listed 100,000
Payroll  Taxes  (from audit).......................................$  10,611
Payroll taxes on income  (from audit)........................$  34,307  ############### different from line above? #########
Hospitalization  (from audit).......................................$ 18,290
Insurance  (from audit)..............................................$    1,247  ######## (same as 2,400 listed in RE ? ) ##########
Other Taxes   (from audit).........................................$      800  ####### what are these? ###########
Rent (from audit)....................................................... $     1,200
Office  Supplies  (from audit).................................... .$    5,757 ######## in addition to $4,000 + 4,400 twp pays ######
Printing & Reproduction (from audit)................. …….$         0
Miscellaneous expense  (from audit)................. …….$   4,781  #########what is this? ####################
Tax Collector Draw …(from audit)............................. $  152, 328
Tax Collector Equity …(from audit)................. ..….... $    32,303
Does Tax Collector have benefits package?.............._________????????
(( Tax Collector's wife wrote  that he gave  17,000 of his earnings to the township -- why - to whom ???  )
       
TOTAL Expenses to run Tax office …………..……………………………………..………$  352,708
Expenses  Allocated:
    
Portion attributed to Twp……………….…$________
     Portion attributed to School ……………...$________.
     Portion attributed to County ……….……..$________
     Portion to Waste Generation……………..$

     Other attributed to_______……………….$________     

Income Received from :
FROM RESIDENTS
Mortgage Processing
..................... …$    43,586   
TOTAL RESIDENT & BUSINESS INCOME R'CVD  BY TAX OFFICE ………….…$43,586


 

FROM TOWNSHIP
Township Real Estate ...........................  $    10,000 
Township  Sewer & Refuse ...............  …$    12,000 
BPT/LST
………. …...………………..…….$  184,638   
    ( $184,638 (p52-58 budget bk))
Misc Other (Reimb Rent Break Interest ...$   . 15,533

TOTAL TWP INCOME RECEIVED  BY TAX OFFICE ……………………………….$  222,271
2009 Budget request is for 37,165 for Tax Collector Admin & 205,788 for 511 tax admin

School.W.................................................    $   35,500  
?Not sure what part of addt'l costs is rec'd...$  45,000 ?????
 TOTAL SCHOOL INCOME RECEIVED  BY TAX OFFICE …………………………$  35,500 or  $ 80,500?????not sure

County pays to tax collector ......................................... ..$     77,737
Other County  pd to tax office ?  ……………………….….$   ______
Other County fees or costs ( postage, materials )  ) pd  ..$   ______

TOTAL COUNTY  INCOME RECEIVED  BY TAX OFFICE ……………………….…$  ?????????????????

Other  ( ie for Real Estate Transfer Taxes or other ) ………………………………….$ __ ______
TOTAL INCOME  REC'D FROM ALL SOURCES …………………………………….$  ______  
 
________________________

 


 
THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT

 

                                                                        ANALYSIS

PAID BY RESIDENTS OR BUSINESSES INDIVIDUALLY
Residents charged by their Mortgage Companies for processing ...................... ...$  43586
( Have yet to check to be certain this charge is passed on to the Mortgagee)
Permits/ Inspections ………………………………………………………………………$ ????????

TOTAL ________________________________________________________________________$43, 586

PAID BY THE TOWNSHIP

PAID TO TAX COLLECTOR RE Sewer Refuse BPT/LST& Misc ……….$  222,271 + waste generation + RE Transfer
RE Tax expenses paid to others ……...................................................  ..$   30,777  
BPT/LST tax expenses paid to others ……………………..………………..$  22,850
Misc  Other  tax expenses  ( Bonding, legal delinq etc) …………………… $  0  ??  +delinquencies
TOTAL Township cost to manage &  to pay RE BPT/LST Misc  expenses…           ………$  275,898  +delinquencies
                                                                                                                                                                  + Waste gen
                                                                                                                                                                  RE Transfer

PAID TO BERKHEIMER  for EIT………………………………………………………………… $ 109,000 or more ???

TOTAL _________________________________________________________________________ $ 384,898


THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT  

PAID BY SCHOOL
School paid wages to Tax Collector  ...................................................... ...... $  35,500  (approx)
School pays  separate expenses ( not including Rockledge ) ……….....       ..$ 45,000
School pays  Rockledge Tax Collector and Expenses  ……… $  8000 + ……$ 0 to Abington
TOTAL __________________________________________________________________________$ 80,500 approx


PAID BY COUNTY
Paid to Tax Collector …………………………………………………………. $ 77,737
TOTAL ___________________________________________________________________________$ 77,737

FINAL OVERALL TAX & FEE  COLLECTION analysis
Paid by Individuals & Bus  pd total…...$ 43,586  for certs  then add zoning fees etc
Paid by Twp pd total………………...…$ 275,898  excluding EIT 109k?+ delinquencies  waste gen RE transf & permits
Paid by School total  incl Rockledge....$  80,500.
Paid by County total…………………....$  77,737
Total cost to collect …………………………   …$ 480,721 +EIT $109,000?  =  $594,721 div by 21,000 homes = 28 per hse

Total Collected Divided by total cost to collect $ 480,000   = Collection Rate 2.5-2.7 %
Total  Amount due ___________ div by  Total amount collected ________   equals overall  success rate_______
WHO PAYS THE MOST
Collected by Tax Collector  for Township    31 million at a cost of  384,898   
Collected by Tax Collector  for the School   88 million at a cost of  35,500 or  80,500 =
Collected by Tax Collector  for County           9  million at a cost of  80,000
______________________________________________________________


THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT PUT TOGETHER BY A RESIDENT TRYING TO GET A VIEW OF THE TAX COLLECTION PROCESS    - THESE FIGURES ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN AS FACT

 

TAX & FEE  COLLECTION for Township only 
Individuals & Bus paid…..$_______
Twp paid ………………...$________
Total cost to collect ………………………………………………………….$
Total Cost to Collect __________Divided by total collected   ____________  = Collection Rate _________

 

TAX OFFICE CHARGEBACKS
Based on  % of the budget allocated to each dept, the costs of the collections listed in the 2009 prelim budget

 Are: -$256,195 . This is  allocated back to the depts. Based on the % of the budget used by each dept.

Police  ……………………- 30.59 % .………………$ 78,371 
Library …………………........4.84% ……………….$ 12,417
code enforcement……… … 1.79%....................…$  4,588
engineering ………………..     .79%-………..……..$  2,027
public works……………….. 10.45% .……………...$ 26,783 ( incl general & highway-aid fund budget dollars only)
Parks and rec……………….. 8.30%-……………...$ 21,284
fire service ……………………4.5% ………………..$ 11,556
vehicle maintenance …………5.2% ……………….$ 13,423
WWTP (???) …………………20.264% ……………$ 51,917

TOTAL  ……………………….100% ……………….$ 256,195

 


_________________________
    Please feel free to send your  information to us  and please be sure to  tell us about any information you believe to be incorrect - write  lel@abingtoncitizens.com

 

 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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