Our office will mail approximately 10,000 tax sale notices this week. Inside each packet is a 1-inch Styrofoam cube, which will puzzle many recipients. We did not include the cube because it is cute. It is there because it saved county taxpayers thousands of dollars in postage costs.

The Word “Or” Means a Lot

Illinois law says that the county must notify a property owner that we intend to sell unpaid taxes at our annual Tax Sale. Historically, our office sent those notices as certified mail. Certified mail can be very expensive and time consuming to prepare when there are 10,000 properties with unpaid taxes.

Upon reading the actual language of the law, we discovered some wiggle room.

…the county collector shall mail, by registered or certified mail, a notice…

Registered or certified mail. That’s a big difference.

The Little Styrofoam Cube

In 2010, it cost the county $36,190 to mail our tax sale notices. That figure does not include the hidden cost of our staff, which completes the green certified mail certificates by hand.

This year, we outsourced the process to a firm that specializes in bulk registered mail. Their solution included a way to use USPS regulations in our favor. Basically, if we make our mailing an irregular size, we can take a lower rate. Enter our Little Styrofoam Cube.

The price for the new mailing is $26,864, a savings to county taxpayers of $9,326.

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One Response to How a Styrofoam Cube Saved Taxpayers $9,326

  1. Jim Gorecki says:

    Once again Steve you are going to get in trouble trying to do the right thing. Glad someone is trying down there. I don’t think this county would know what to do if every department tried to be a little more concerned about the taxpayers.

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