Finance board approves ‘extraordinarily low’ suspense list

At the Board of Finance’s April 18 meeting, Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz presented a list of tax items that have been uncollectible for the past year, known as the suspense list.
The balance of the 2017 suspense list is $5,791.94, with $1,519.43 collected on taxes and $3,495.73 collected in interest. Board of Finance Chair Jeff Rutishauser pointed out it is “extraordinarily low” compared to previous years.
This time last year, the balance of Wilton’s suspense list was approximately $304,000, with $5,450 collected on taxes and $9,980 collected in interest.
Kelly-Lenz told the board the town has started to “come down on” the number of delinquencies. Even though less will be collected in interest, she said, it’s “a good thing.”
Most of the items on the suspense list are out-of-state motor vehicles as a result of people moving out of state and not registering their cars in their new states within 30 days, as well as different businesses that closed or moved to different locations, Wilton’s tax collector, Phil Damato, told The Bulletin.
“It might have been a nail salon or a restaurant or something that closed and there are no funds left,” Damato said.
“Even though we’re suspending [$5,791.94] this year,” Kelly-Lenz told the Bulletin, “the money is still technically owed.”
A state statute gives the assessor 27 months from the assessment date to make any adjustments, and if a delinquency isn’t adjusted within that 27-month time frame, the entire bill will still be owed.
“All records stay on for 15 years before coming off the list,” Kelly-Lenz explained at the Board of Finance meeting, “but if I wanted to know what I have in suspense — or if someone we haven’t been able to find comes in, we could find that bill in a second once we pull up their name in the system.”
With the Board of Finance’s acceptance of this year’s suspense list, it will be sent to a collection agency or the state marshal for collection, after which the town will get 100% and the debt collector or state marshal will get a 15% charge on top of that.