To The Editor:
Julie Schaumberg is doing precisely the job Warren County voters elected her to do: collecting tax payments fairly, impartially, and in strict compliance with state law. The collector cannot do her job properly if she simply accepts residents’ claims that they submitted checks in a timely manner. If her office has not received a check by Dec. 31, state law requires the collector to collect appropriate penalties and interest. This ensures that all taxpayers are treated equally.
As frequently happens, last year a resident claimed to have mailed a check that the collector’s office never received. The collector held that resident to the same standard as everyone else, but the county commission unlawfully ordered Schaumberg to grant that taxpayer special treatment. State law obligated the collector to refuse this unlawful order.
The taxpayer initially owed only $93 in penalties and interest. The commission sued and has already paid its attorney more than $26,000 in taxpayer money in its effort to force Schaumberg to violate state law. In addition, the commission has denied the collector’s office the use of its own dedicated fund to defend against the commission’s lawsuit.
If the commission continues its baseless lawsuit, it will not only waste tens of thousands more taxpayer dollars on that lawsuit, it will also face a separate, costly lawsuit for denying Schaumberg the ability to use her office’s own dedicated fund to pay for the office’s legal defense.
Warren County taxpayers have already lost far too much money over one resident who failed to pay their tax bill on time. Taxpayers should demand that the commission immediately drop its lawsuit with prejudice and allow the collector to use her office’s dedicated fund to pay for the legal services provided through last November. If the commission does this, I promise not to submit an additional invoice for the services I provided over the past couple of months, and there will be no need for a separate lawsuit over the commission’s attempt to block the collector from paying for her office’s legal defense.
Attorney for the Warren County Collector’s Office