2013 Budget Request: position dedication to sale of Tax Deeded Lands

Prior to the November election, I relied on the sitting Treasurer to promote the 2013 office operating budget with the County Executive and the County Board, which he did rather competently.  The only request that was not included in the budget introduced by the County Executive and approved by the Personnel and Finance Committee was an additional staff member dedicated to the sale of tax deeded lands among other related tasks to increase revenue to Dane County.

After the November election, I felt it proper for me to advocate as Treasurer-Elect.  So, I contacted Dave Worzala, the sitting Treasurer, and asked him for additional information regarding the budget request.  With that information, I expressed my support of his budget request to the County Board prior to their voting on the budget.  According to Worzala, the additional position would have yielded $105,000 in additional revenue, which would have exceeded the allocation of $64,500 for the position.

I appreciate the extensive consideration given to this request by the County Executive and the Personnel and Finance Committee, both of which opted to establish a task force between the Treasurer, the Land Acquisition Division, and the Controller’s Office.  However, I emphasized in my communication with the Board how this proposal would (1) delay any positive return to Dane County and (2) impose both a fiscal and staffing burden without additional hands to assign the additional responsibility.  I used Worzala’s example of how this decision would shift existing staff in the Treasurer’s Office currently working on delinquencies to the efforts on sales of tax deeded lands and thereby decrease the County’s efforts on the collection of delinquencies.

In addition to fiscal benefits of Worzala’s budget request, I reiterated how the proposed position would reinforce the current delinquency efforts through the County’s visible selling of land and actively placing property back on the tax roll.  A dedicated person in the Treasurer’s Office for this initiative would protect the County so as to maintain the confidence of the public and protect property rights.  That is, after all, a good portion of what the Treasurer’s Office is all about – to promote Security, Efficiency, Accountability, and Transparency.  Right?

Fortunately, the Treasurer’s Office received funding to sustain current practices.  Unfortunately, the budget request for an additional position to increase revenue to Dane County was eliminated.  Maybe after preliminary work by the task force in 2013 there will be greater support for this position. Alas, life moves on, and the Treasurer’s Office will continue to operate as it has over the past few years.

I would like to thank Dave for his securing the 2013 office budget and working to smooth my transition into the office.  I would also like to thank the current staff for providing guidance and stability during the transition of the Treasurer.

Any thoughts?