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Friday is deadline to pay real estate taxes

Friday is the deadline to hand in the second half of real estate tax payments.

For those who don’t do well meeting deadlines, county officials are meeting Thursday to take action against the most seriously delinquent among them.

“We should be on track — of course, many people wait until the last minute — but hopefully we will exceed the tax collections for the second half of last year. If so this

year may be the year for the highest tax collections we’ve ever had,” Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham said.

“Last year we collected just over $7 million for the second -half of the year. Last year’s first-half collections were, ballpark figures, $11 million,” Burcham said.

“Our collections for the first half of this year were right around $12.1 million. I’m not sure if we will hit $8 million for the second-half this year but we should exceed $7 million.”

After Friday a 5 percent penalty will be added to the tax bill for one week. After that, the penalty rises to 10 percent.

Burcham said he will meet Thursday with Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. to discuss filing a lawsuit against the owners of more than 400 parcels of property on which more than $2 million in delinquent taxes are owed.

The first group getting the county’s collective attention will be those who owe more than $1,000 on any single parcel of land.

Later this year, Burcham said he hopes to focus attention to those who owe between $500 and $1,000 on any single parcel of real estate.

Those who want to avoid being sued must contact Burcham’s office before Thursday.

He pointed out that once the lawsuit is filed, $250 in court costs are added to each parcel of land listed in the lawsuit. The court costs must be paid before the taxes are paid.

“If you are delinquent you may set up a tax payment arrangement through our office,” Burcham said.

“We urge people to call or come in. There are things we can do to keep it from going to a sale.”

Burcham said new software being installed later this year will enable tax payers to make monthly tax payments, as opposed to the twice-yearly and once-yearly payment options available now.

Again this tax season, tax payments are being accepted at all Lawrence County branches of Liberty Federal Savings Bank, Oak Hill Banks, Ohio River Bank, City National Bank, Ohio Valley Bank and U.S. Bank.