Treasurer: Tax funds coming in

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

The money may not exactly be rolling in to county coffers, but it is flowing a little faster and a little heavier these days.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham said his office is on track to collect $12 million in property tax payments for the first half-year tax season that ended earlier this month.

That amount is approximately $1 million more than what was collected during the same period last year.

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And Burcham said those who can’t pay their delinquent taxes are coming in record numbers, also.

“We’ve probably set up more contracts this year than in any other year,” he said.

One of the things credited with making tax time a little less painful for eastern end residents was the agreement between the county and several area banks that allowed bank tellers to accept property tax payments.

To date, tax payments made at these remote sites totaled $773,196.

“It went extremely well,” Burcham said.

“From our end of things this was extremely positive. The banks were great. They seemed to not have a lot of problems with it.

“I spoke to customers who paid their taxes at the banks and everyone was very appreciative of the county offering this alternative.”

Of the area banks that participated, Oak Hill Banks’ Proctorville branch accepted more than $86,000 in tax payments.

“We appreciate Steve and his staff doing this,” Lawrence County Commissioner George Patterson said. “It gives the citizens easier ways to pay their taxes.”

“I think accessibility has made it better,” Commissioner Doug Malone agreed.

Mindful of their restrictive general fund budget, Lawrence County Commissioners have asked Burcham to send them word as soon as possible in regards to how much more money they will have than they had anticipated at the beginning of the year when they approved the county’s general fund budget.

If the proverbial carrot didn’t entice tax payers to make those payments, Burcham is ready with the stick: He said he plans by the end of the month to forward to the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office the list of seriously delinquent property owners who owe taxes and have not made payment arrangements.

A lawsuit would then be filed against those property owners.