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Madison County treasurer says latest tax sale again reflects office reforms

EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler says the annual tax sale held Monday resulted in the sale of $4 million in taxes with an average penalty rate of 1.89 percent  — far better, he said, than that of a predecessor.

“This was the fifth tax sale that I have managed,” Prenzler said. “All have resulted in average penalty rates of less than 4 percent. That’s low, and that benefits struggling taxpayers.”

The tax sale is held annually to collect delinquent taxes for the county’s more than 200 taxing districts. The state requires a sale, or auction, so the entities receive the money they levied for that year.

Prenzler said the tax sale this week was far different from that of his predecessors. He pointed out that before taking office there were practices that he believed were “unethical.”

Tax sales under former treasurer Fred Bathon produced average penalty rates of 18 percent, the maximum rate allowed by law, Prenzler said.

This year, 24 tax buyers took part in the event, purchasing taxes on 1,946 parcels.

Fred Bathon, who served as treasurer for 11 years, went to federal prison last year after pleading guilty to rigging tax sales.

Three tax buyers are also serving prison sentences.

When Prenzler took office, he reformed the bidding process by switching from a verbal outcry auction to using automated software.

“The automated system is fair, efficient, and in my opinion, helps to bring the penalty rates down,” he said.

Anyone whose taxes were sold should contact the Madison County Clerk’s Office at (618) 692-6290 for information on how to do redeem them. For questions about the tax sale, contact the Treasurer’s Office at (618) 692-6260.

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