To the Editor:

As Treasurer of Madison County, I welcome and will cooperate fully with any review or investigation that will determine if laws related to the annual tax sales prior to my assuming office in 2010 were violated.

Furthermore, I would ask the investigating authority to review the 2010 tax sale, the first tax sale conducted under my direction, so taxpayers in Madison County will have indisputable proof the tax sale was conducted in complete adherence will all applicable laws and in a manner that resulted in a reduction of almost 50 percent in the interest rate incurred for delinquent taxes on property in the county.

Members of my staff who conducted the 2010 tax sale were trained by Homer Henke, a prominent auctioneer and longtime Republican member of the Madison County Board.

We changed the venue of the sale from the county board chambers to the Jury Assembly room and seating was made on a first come - first serve basis – there was no assigned seating. Two spotters aided in the auction process, a GIS produced map of the parcel was displayed and the entire proceeding was videotaped. Most importantly, the bids were awarded to the lowest bidder.

As a result of those changes, there was a significant reduction in the interest charged taxpayers who were delinquent in their property tax payments. On average, the interest rates dropped to 9 percent.

I am also proud of the fact that delinquent property tax payments for the 2009 tax cycle declined by approximately 14 percent, the lowest it has been in 10 years. That decline can be directly attributed to the various real estate tax payment options the Treasurer's office is now offering Madison County property owners. Property owners can now choose to pay their real estate taxes in two or four installments, or on a monthly basis.

In the future, I am reviewing additional changes, including conducting the entire tax sale online, a process which is now possible as a result of improved, secure technology.

Frank Miles
Madison County Treasurer

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