Holiday brings tax bills, too

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 6, 2002

Along with holiday cards and early presents, property ownerssoon will be getting their 2002 property tax notices — if theyhaven’t already, city and county tax officials said.

“We hope to have them out by the end of the week, if not byMonday,” said Brookhaven Tax Collector Pat Duckworth.

Duckworth said approximately 10,000 notices on real property and1,500 notices on personal property are being sent out thisyear.

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In the county, tax officials said over 17,700 notices were sentout Nov. 27. Of those, 16,390 were on real property and 1,310 werepersonal property.

Both offices have started collecting taxes. Duckworth said thecity started Tuesday.

“We try to do that when the county starts,” Duckworth said.”That makes it convenient for people who want to pay both (city andcounty taxes) at the same time.”

Property owners may not like some of the numbers on thenotices.

“They’re up some because the school millage went up,” Duckworthsaid. “That’s the reason.”

Tax levy mills for the city school district rose 4.27, with onemill equaling one dollar for every $1,000 of assessed propertyvalue. The levy to support city services went down a slighttwo-tenths of a mill.

The net effect is an increase of about $4.25 more for every$1,000 of assessed property value.

“It’s not tremendous,” Duckworth said.

The tax levies for both the county and school districtincreased. The county levy was up 1.97 mills while the school levyrose 3.81 mills, for a total increase of about $5.76 more on every$1,000 of assessed property value.

All property owners pay county property taxes on items such asland, homes and automobiles. City property owners also pay a citytax.

Property owners pay only one school tax, depending on thedistrict in which they live.

Duckworth said property owners have until Feb. 1, 2003, to paytaxes without a penalty. After that date, there is a 1 percent permonth penalty until the land sale for delinquent taxes that is heldon the last Monday in August.

After the land sale, the penalty increases to 1.5 percent permonth. Following the land sale, the original property owner has twoyears to redeem their property by paying the taxes owed plus thepenalties.

For property owners who can’t quite make the full payment beforeFebruary, Duckworth said there is a partial payment plan. She saidshe had noticed an increase in the partial payment option in recentyears.

Under the plan, property owners pay half their taxes before Feb.1, another 25 percent before May 1 and pay the remainder by July 1.Property owners pay the monthly penalty on the unpaid portion oftheir bills after Feb. 1.

“If you haven’t made a partial payment by the end of January,you have to pay it all,” Duckworth said. “That’s state law.”