Taxes on city sites current, still short on county

Shawano Leader, Wisconsin/January 3, 2010

It took a while for Shawano County and the City of Shawano to process past due property tax payments made last week by the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology.

That's because virtually all of the bills - totaling about $500,000 between the city and county - were paid in cash.

"It definitely is not the norm," said Shawano County Treasurer Kay Schroeder.

On Tuesday, SIST CEO Naomi Isaacson came to the Treasurer's Office to pay $457,546 in tax bills for the properties SIST and its subsidiaries own in Shawano County.

The taxes on two parcels, however, were left unpaid.

"There was an envelope for each parcel, with the cash for each parcel separate," Schroeder said. "They were very considerate that way."

Fortunately, department employees did not have to count the money by hand. Schroeder said they used a cash counting machine acquired several years ago, after one taxpayer brought in $1,200 in $1 bills to pay her taxes.

"It took about three hours to do all the transactions," including writing all of the receipts for Tuesday's transactions, she said.

Schroeder said employees were a little nervous because of the amount of money being turned over. However, a Shawano County Sheriff's deputy returning the office's cash bag after taking a deposit to the bank came back while the payments were being processed.

"He stayed here because they had that much cash," said Schroeder, referring to the deputy as "our guardian angel."

Capt. Tom Tuma of the sheriff's department said it's routine to have deputies transport secured bank bags for county offices that collect money, as a matter of security.

"It's considered best practice," he said. "It's safer to have our people do it rather than have civilians do it."

Most taxpayers submit checks to the county, Schroeder said. She did not require SIST to pay cash.

"We accept cash," she said. "We don't require them to bring cash."

Schroeder said one of the envelopes was $600 short, so Isaacson wrote a check to make up the difference.

Also on Tuesday, SIST paid real estate/personal property and room taxes at City Hall.

Shawano City Clerk-Treasurer Marlene Brath said she also had not required SIST to pay cash.

Brath said the $43,160 SIST paid took several hours to process.

"They did that on their own," Brath said. "I think they wanted to speed the process along ... to submit their applications for their liquor and other licenses - amusement, soda and cigarette."

Brath also said the payments for each parcel were separated by envelopes, and Isaacson requested individual processing for each one. The process took several hours because interest needed to be calculated, and room taxes for its two motels had to be divided because a portion goes to the Shawano Country Tourism Council. Besides property and room taxes, SIST also paid all of the amounts of invoices for state inspections.

"They are current," Brath said Thursday.

Taxes to the county, however, remain past due on two parcels in the city of Shawano, Schroeder said. SIST still owes $30,378.61 for properties at 1024 E. Fifth St. and 463 Humphrey Circle.

"They said there was some sort of problem with those, but they didn't say what it was," Schroeder said.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.