CLEVELAND - Cuyahoga County's Fiscal Office has published its first ever list of the county's most delinquent property owners.
The new list has been dubbed "The Dirty Dozen" by Fiscal Office staff and will be prominently displayed on a large white board on the first floor of the Cuyahoga County Administration Building, 1219 Ontario Street in downtown Cleveland.
The 12 owners currently on the list collectively owe more than $7.7 million to schools and local governments. The goal of the new list is to bring additional scrutiny to some of the most egregious cases where property owners aren't paying their taxes, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said.
See "Dirty Dozen" list
This list was compiled by scanning the county's delinquency files for large taxpayers and by combining multiple delinquencies of parcels owned by the same individual or business.
Some property owners who owe large amounts are not included on this list because they are seeking a property tax exemption (and thus may end up not having any tax liability) or for other reasons.
"It's a matter of fairness, said FitzGerald. "The vast majority of Cuyahoga County taxpayers play by the rules and pay their taxes on time."
"It's unfair to law-abiding taxpayers when some are perpetually delinquent. We need to ensure a fair, level playing field for everyone."
Property on the list will receive additional scrutiny by employees in the county treasurer's office, which will eventually yield additional revenue for schools and local governments.
The list will be updated monthly.
Wade Steen, Cuyahoga County's fiscal officer, said he hopes more property owners will pay up before they reach the point of making the list.
"You don't want to be on this list," said Steen, who developed a similar list when he served as Franklin County treasurer from 2001-02.
At the beginning of the year, about 15 percent of property owners were delinquent, owing more than $400 million in taxes.