Tax notices go out early next month

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 28, 2000

In the midst of holiday shopping, property owners — especiallythose in the city — may want to hold a little back for tax noticesthat will be in the mail shortly.

Lincoln County Tax Assessor-Collector Nancy Jordan andBrookhaven Tax Collector Pat Duckworth said the notices will begoing out around the second week in December. Jordan will mail over17,000 real and about 1,800 personal property notices, whileDuckworth’s office is planning approximately 10,000 real and 2,000personal property tax notices.

“We try to send them out at the same time for the convenience ofthe taxpayers,” Duckworth said about coordination between the twooffices. “You don’t want to get one and then two weeks later getthe other.”

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With an 11.64-mill increase, city and city school districtresidents will be seeing the biggest change. For property owners inthose districts, the increase means they will be paying over $11more for every $1,000 of assessed property value.

The increase in the total tax rate for city residents is theresult of a 3.42 increase in the county tax levy and an 8.22increase in the Brookhaven School District. Tax officials pointedout the city school district increase was mainly the result of avoter-approved bond issue for improvements at the high school.

“The people wanted their school fixed. I don’t think they’llmind paying for their schools,” Jordan said.

Duckworth said the 8.22-mill school increase was the onlycity-related jump.

“That was the entire increase in city taxes,” she said. “City(government) taxes did not go up.”

While city taxes are paid in Duckworth’s office, Jordan said thecity increases will be seen in the county tax office at other timesduring the year.

“It will reflect in my office because I collect the car tag andmobile home taxes for (the city),” Jordan said, adding that thosecollections are sent to the city at the end of each month.

Jordan said she and Duckworth are responsible for collectingtaxes, but the responsibility of setting tax levies lies with otherofficials, such as supervisors or aldermen. As tax assessor, Jordanis also responsible for assigning values to county and cityproperties.

Among the expenses contributing to the county’s 3.42-millincrease are debt service on new jail and library improvements bondissues, some equipment purchases and some “unavoidable” expensessuch as jail staffing, a countywide property tax reappraisal andhigher fuel cots.

On the bright side, the county government increase is beingoffset by a decrease in the millage rate needed for the LincolnCounty School District.

With a 6.05 levy for a 1977 county school bond issue removed,plus some other changes, the net effect is a 2.01-mill decrease inthe total tax levy for county school district residents. Jordan wasproud to see the county millage drop.

“It’s not enough to get excited over, but every little bithelps,” she said. “Hopefully, we can keep it down.”

As far as paying the tax bills, Duckworth said tax offices arerequired to start collecting taxes by Dec. 26. Jordan expected heroffice to begin collecting around Dec. 15.

“We start as quickly as we can after we get our statements out,”Duckworth said.

Jordan said property taxes are delinquent after Feb. 1.

That is when a 1 percent per month penalty begins to build untilAugust, when the property is sold for delinquent taxes at theannual land sale, Jordan said. Property owners then have up to twoyears to pay property taxes owed, plus penalties, and redeem theirproperty.