When I first ran for Dane County treasurer four years ago, the focus of my campaign was supporting families who were living and working on the margins to avoid tax delinquencies and to keep their homes.
Since becoming treasurer in 2013, I have taken a hands-on approach to reducing tax delinquencies in Dane County. By proactively working with families and local business owners, delinquencies in Dane County have been reduced by 15 to 20 percent in each of the last four years, reducing delinquencies by about $20 million in my first term.
Individuals who are struggling to pay their property taxes are often unaware of the services available or unsure of how to access them. Connecting those people with the services they need helps them to focus on getting caught up on property taxes — just one of many ways we are making a difference in Dane County.
The common-sense, hands-on approach to reducing tax delinquencies has been a win-win situation for Dane County. More families keep their homes, local businesses remain open, and additional resources are available to vital county services.
I am running for re-election as Dane County treasurer because we are on the right track and want to build on our success. Dozens of local officials throughout Dane County have endorsed my candidacy, including state Reps. Dianne Hesselbein, Melissa Sargent, and Lisa Subeck.
Another part of our effort to reduce tax delinquencies has been to return $2.4 million worth of property value to tax-paying status through tax deed sales. We have actively engaged in the sale of about 70 tax-deeded properties in the past four years. Some of those properties had been held by Dane County since the 1960s, zero of which were sold and returned to a tax-paying status for over a decade prior to my election.
I have pioneered collaborative efforts between Dane County, municipalities, the DNR, and the EPA to clean up delinquent, abandoned, contaminated lands throughout the county. By working together, communities have the opportunity to clean up blighted and contaminated properties and put them back to use. This effort not only improves environmental quality; it also helps return properties as safe, usable lands with improved property values.
Working with other treasurers around the state, we were able to pass legislation at both the state and local level to improve the delivery of services and reduce the cost of operating the county Treasurer’s Office.
I made sure Dane County investments were safe and did not include fossil fuels even prior to passage of the county’s divestment policy. I also worked with property owners and municipalities to preserve pristine green space and local cultural values.
We are cleaning up polluted properties and putting them back to use. We are partnering with neighborhoods and municipalities to preserve our natural and cultural heritage. We are helping local businesses remain open. And we are working with families to help keep them in their homes. I have taken an active, personalized approach to reducing property tax delinquencies in Dane County, and it works.
But my job is not finished. With dwindling state support, it is more important than ever that we continue to reduce tax delinquencies to help families keep their homes and generate additional resources to fund vital county services.
Helping families ranges from visiting homes of people falling behind on their property taxes to working with the city of Madison and their taxpayers regarding multiple installment payments. Helping those living on the margins get caught up and stay current on their property taxes benefits all. No one wants to lose their property, and I will use every method in my power to continue helping people find a way to remain in their homes.
That is why I am running for re-election as Dane County treasurer, and I hereby ask for your support in the Democratic primary on Aug. 9.