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County off to good start in collections

Second-half real estate tax collections began June 25 and will continue until July 20.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham said his office has collected roughly $800,000 in taxes since the first-half tax period ended in March and that’s probably a better start to the second half collections period than seen in previous years.

“This is due in large part to our efforts to track down delinquent property owners and convince them to make arrangements to pay what they owe,” Burcham said.

The bulk of that figure— close to $600,000 — is parceled out to the county’s seven public school districts. The rest is divided among other governmental agencies such as the Lawrence County Health Department and the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation/Development Disabilities.

Once they pay those second-half taxes, property owners have a new option for paying next year’s real estate taxes. Burcham said beginning in August, residents may escrow their taxes through his office, with the amount being applied to their 2008 tax bill.

“But they must be current,” he said. “This not something anyone has to do, but they may use this service if they choose.”

Burcham said he hopes to have the office’s Web site operational by spring of next year. This would allow residents to pay their property taxes via computer.

At this time, taxpayers may bring their payments to the treasurer’s office on the second floor of the Lawrence County Courthouse or to several area banks that have agreed to take and forward real estate tax payments at their various branches throughout the county: Liberty Federal Savings Bank, Oak Hill Banks, Ohio River Bank, City National Bank, Ohio Valley Bank and U.S. Bank.