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Tax notices in holiday mail

Along with welcome holiday cards and letters, Lincoln Countyresidents have started to receive some unwanted reminders of thetime of year.

County property tax notices are starting to arrive in mailboxes,and city property tax notices will be going out soon, officialssaid.

“Hopefully, they’re not too bad,” said Lincoln County TaxAssessor-Collector Nancy Jordan, fully aware that the notices arenot the most popular things to get at holiday time.

Jordan said approximately 20,000 real and personal propertynotices were taken to a mail service last week. The notices are inthe process of being delivered.

“People will be getting them anywhere from last Friday to whenthey get them all out,” Jordan said.

If residents have not received the tax notices by Friday, Jordansuggested they contact her office in order to check the mailingaddress.

In the city, Brookhaven Tax Collector Pat Duckworth is preparingto send out over 10,600 real and personal property notices byFriday.

“That’s the day I’m shooting for,” Duckworth said.

Although not all notices are out, both the city and county taxoffices have started collecting if residents want to come in andpay the bills.

“People come to town and want to pay both of them,” Duckworthsaid about tax payment and collections.

Tax bill payments are due by Feb. 1, 2002. After that date,property owners will accrue a 1 percent per month penalty until theland is sold for delinquent taxes at the August land sale, taxofficials said.

Jordan said the county this year will accept partial payments onthe tax bills. The city also accepts partial payments.

“This will help people who’ve got a high tax bill,” Jordansaid.

Under the partial payment plan, half of the bill is due by Feb.1. The remainder is due in two payments: one by May 1 and the finalpayment by Aug. 1.

“The first half will not have a penalty,” Jordan said.

The second payment, though, will have a 4 percent penalty andthe final payment will have a 7 percent penalty.

Jordan pointed out the county will have a new receipt methodthis year as well. Instead of handling receipt books, she saidcustomers will receive a computer printout of their payment, whichis similar to how car tag payments are handled.

“Hopefully, that will speed it up for us,” Jordan said.

So far, Jordan said she has not had a lot of public feedbackabout the numbers on the tax bills.

“We’ve had a few who thought they shouldn’t have gone up thatmuch and some whose went down,” Jordan said.

Many residents saw their property values increase following astate-mandated reappraisal earlier this year. Jordan complimentedofficials on their efforts to offset the tax bill impact of thevalues increase.

“The board of supervisors and the board of aldermen did a greatjob of adjusting the millage rates,” Jordan said.

Millage rates are used in conjunction with property values todetermine a resident’s tax bill.

Jordan said state officials visited her office this week to makesure property value ratios are staying within fair market valueguidelines. Also, work on the new year tax roll has begun.

“Our field men have already started our maintenance,” Jordansaid. “They will be seeing people riding the roads to pick up newhomes for the 2002 roll.”

Jordan said anyone who built a new home in 2001 is encouraged tocome by her office between Jan. 1 and April 1 to file for homesteadexemption. Also, anyone who’s had a change in their home orproperty situation in 2001 should come by to check on theirhomestead exemption status.

While most property owners are getting their tax notices now,Jordan said mobile home owners will receive their notices inJanuary. She said mobile home property is similar to car tags.

“You assess those a year in advance instead of a year behind,”Jordan said.