The leader of the state treasurer’s organization says we may be overestimating reports of Iowa’s economic woes. Bob Knowler is president of the Iowa County Treasurers’ Association, and he says he sees property tax delinquency up in some counties, down in others, but no trend either way. He notes Iowa’s jobless rate is still in the low single digits. Knowler says workers who DO get laid off find other jobs waiting, and working people aren’t taking pay cuts. While Polk County has 20 percent more parcels to be sold for delinquent taxes this time around, Knowler says statewide, numbers look steady this year. Knowler is also the treasurer of Woodbury County, in Sioux City, and says an e-mail request went out to his group, for reports on the tax-delinquency trend. Knowler says in Woodbury County, sales of property forfeited for taxes are actually down. He says some counties are reporting the sales up, some down. In Polk County, the number of parcels ruled delinquent is up 20 percent, and treasurer Mary Maloney says the dollar amount owed is up 35-percent. Knowler says county treasurers are seeing one trend, he says city forfeitures are up, but those of farmland are down. Knowler adds there are more property-tax relief measures available for farmers, and he thinks commercial property owners are defaulting on property taxes a little more than home or farm owners. He also sees signs that people are putting off big purchases so they can pay for what they have.Knowler says in Woodbury County, there are fewer properties going to tax sale, but also fewer car sales being processed. Since October he sees a drop of 25-percent in auto title transactions. With the state’s jobless rate still low, Knowler says there are few signs that average Iowans are suffering economic hard times.
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