The city of Frederick, Md. lost more than $120,000 in revenue between fiscal years 2010 and 2012 because of uncollected fees from previous years — most a result of defunct businesses.
Most of the delinquent accounts are from uncollected property tax revenue, taxes based on the property a business owns, such as desks and chairs. The unresolved accounts are often from businesses that no longer exist, having dissolved or forfeited their operating license, according to city officials.
The city annually writes off accounts with uncollected revenue at least three fiscal years old, after attempts to collect through collection notices and potential litigation.
This year’s list includes an estimated $30,942 from delinquent personal property tax accounts in fiscal 2008, as well as $6,893 in uncollected fees stemming from a former employee’s delinquent COBRA health insurance account and the replacement of a damaged light pole. In fiscal 2011, the city stopped pursuing debtors who owed $60,824.48.
Patti Slimmer, the city's accounting manager, said the city’s lawyers and staff, rather than an outside collection agency, attempt to collect the funds. And while the accounts are removed from the city’s financial ledgers, it is still be possible to collect delinquent fees if an owner were to come forward. Slimmer says.