Lansdale Real Estate Tax Collection Short $1.5M
The borough is at 23 percent of its budget for real estate tax collection, when it should be closer to 80 percent for this time of the year. The finance department is looking into the matter with the current tax collector
Lansdale Borough is about $1.5 million short in real estate tax collection for this time of the year, and the finance department is looking into and will be monitoring the reason for the loss with borough tax collector Jim Hanratty.
Administration and Finance Committee Chairman Dan Dunigan reported during the council work session Wednesday that the borough is running at 23 percent of the budget relative to real estate tax collection.
"Typically, this time of year, you are running closer to 80 percent of budget," Dunigan said. "To give you a rough order of magnitude, you are looking at instead of having $2.1 million in hand, we have about $650,000 in hand."
Dunigan said finance director Brian Shapiro would be reaching out to Hanratty in the coming days to see what there is to do to get that $1.5 million collected.
Dunigan attributed the loss to the new administration in the tax collection department.
"Things will straighten themselves out, we hope," he said.
Shapiro said that normally by the end of April he is anywhere from 60 to 83 perecnt of total collected real estate taxes.
April 30 is the discount date for all real estate taxes to come in, he said.
"During my financial update (to the committee), that’s an area I pointed out. Usually, for cash flow, that’s a big difference," Shapiro said.
He said this time last year the borough collected $2.1 million. He said the amount collected right now is closer to $600,000.
Shapiro said the problem could be a host of things, but he thought it important enough to report it to the committee.
As of Wednesday night, Shapiro had not reached out to Hanratty to discuss the issue.
"The money could be there," he said. "Typically, going back a couple of years, we're at least at 60 percent collection."
After the meeting, Dunigan said the issue is on "a monitor list."
"If we had the same issue and this was September, and we still only had 23 percent, obviously it's a cash flow concern. Two million not in your bank accounts to be utilized for running the business of the borough would be a big concern," he said. "At this point, not a big concern, but one to be tracked."
Dunigan said it's one of the things to pay attention to right now.
"I suspect it is purely administrative. Jim's working hard, I am certain, in trying to get everything together. I assume it is paperwork intensive," Dunigan said.
He said there's probably "a bit of a learning curve" with Hanratty.
"He didn’t have a tremendous background in the whole tax collector parts as they would be. We asked Brian (Shapiro) to reach out to him to get an update," he said.
Hanratty was contacted by email Wednesday night for comment. As of Thursday morning, there was no response.
Hanratty was elected to the tax collector position in November 2011, ousting Republican tax collector Christine Calhoun.
Calhoun, who had 15 years experience as a tax collector, was deputized to fulfill the position by former tax collector Robert Di Domizio, who resigned due to health concerns. Calhoun is the daughter of the former Lansdale tax collector Nick Thee, who passed away in February 2012.