Combined tax bills cause stir

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 11, 2005

Combined Brookhaven and Lincoln County property tax bills causeda minor stir this week, but Tax Assessor-Collector Nancy Jordanattributed the confusion to differences in billing procedures thisyear and a format change.

Since approximately 18,000 tax notices were sent out Tuesday tocity and county property owners, Jordan said her office hasreceived several calls about the bills. City and county taxeslisted on a single bill gave the appearance of higher taxes, butJordan said that was not the case.

“The biggest question has been, ‘Why have my taxes gone up?,'”Jordan said. “In most cases, it was due to the taxes being listedon one statement.”

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For the first time this year, Jordan’s office is collectingproperty taxes for both the county and the city.

“All the taxes they owe are on one statement,” Jordan said.

Previously, property owners received a tax bill from the countyand another from the city tax collector’s office if they ownedproperty in Brookhaven or the Brookhaven School District. With theretirement of City Tax Collector Pat Duckworth and the closing ofher office, officials agreed to have Jordan collect property taxesfor both the county and city.

On the tax bills, property owners will see spaces for county,school and city taxes owed.

Residents who live in the Lincoln County School District willsee amounts under headings labeled “county” and “school.” Due to acomputer program setup, Jordan said, that is different from earlieryears when there was only one tax total.

“Since I was the county tax collector, those were never brokenout,” Jordan said.

Property owners in the Brookhaven School District who liveoutside the city limits will see a similar tax bill arrangement.However, the amount listed under school will go to the city schooldistrict.

Property owners inside the city limits will see all three spacesfilled and amounts designated for each entity.

Jordan said her office is now collecting taxes from propertyowners.

“They can pay any time between now and Feb. 1 without penalty,”Jordan said.

After Feb. 1, there will be a 1 percent monthly penalty untilAugust. That month, property with delinquent taxes will be sold atthe annual land sale.