Pondera County Treasurer Jeanne Moon announced this week that property tax payments are slow coming into her office.
For more than 200 years, local governments have levied taxes against real estate.
At the county level of government, these property taxes fund a number of services, including public schools, ambulance, senior citizens, county health department, law enforcement, rural fire, road maintenance and the library to name a few.
When the taxes are not paid, the county does not have the operating capital needed for these and other programs.
Moon tells the I-O, “Things didn’t seem as busy during the second half tax collections, so I decided to run reminder letters to those who missed making the May payment.”
To her surprise, the delinquent list was very long. “In order to save postage costs, I decided to let the I-O know,” she said.
An annual tax lien sale is set for July 14. Delinquent letters will be mailed out at the end of the month, June 29.
At a tax lien sale, what is purchased is not the deed to the property. The money pays the delinquent taxes to the county on behalf of the delinquent property owner.
In exchange, the purchaser would hold the tax lien on the property until it is redeemed by the taxpayer. This ends up costing the taxpayer extra interest and fees.
For the year, the county billed out $8,195,039.51. Delinquent taxes for the first half amounted to $108,907.36 and $251,275.04 for the second half.
This equates to about five percent in delinquent taxes.
Asked if this a sign of hard times and a bad economy, Moon didn’t think so, rather, she feels people have forgotten that second half taxes were due in May. Delinquent taxes usually are closer to three percent. In the years 2007 to 2009, they averaged right around four percent.
If you think you may have forgotten to pay your second half taxes or just need more information, contact Moon in the Treasurer’s office at 271-4015.