In 2011, Will County Treasurer Steve Weber changed the way his office mailed tax sale notices. Since then, the cumulative savings to the county’s budget has grown to $185,694 as of 2017.
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Finding a Creative Solution
Illinois law requires that the county notify a property owner of the intent to sell unpaid taxes at the annual Tax Sale. Historically, the Treasurer’s Office sent these notices as certified mail, which can be expensive and time consuming to prepare considering the number of parcels.
“We noticed the law had some flexibility on how we mail the notices,” Weber said, “The County can mail those bills as registered mail, or as certified mail, which is much cheaper. This new process is a better process because it reduces work on our staff in the form of hand addressing all of the certified mail forms.”
The County mailed 8,831 delinquent notices the first year of the change, which include bulk mail containing more than one tax notice. If the Treasurer’s Office sent those notices as Certified Mail, it would cost the County $53,989. By mailing notices as Registered Mail, the cost will be $18,300—a savings of $35,689.
“I think this is an example of how we bring a business approach to government,” Weber said.
The Little Styrofoam Cube
Treasurer Weber and his staff also found a way to lower Registered Mail postage even further. Inside each notice is a 1-inch Styrofoam cube. While it might puzzle recipients as to its purpose, the cube makes the parcel “irregular,” which allows the County to use US Post Office regulations to get a lower rate.