Tax collection push right call

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The time for excuses and making arrangements have passed, meaning county residents will be held accountable for pulling their weight when it comes to property taxes.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham is working with the county prosecutor’s office to make another hard push to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in delinquent taxes.

The prosecutor’s office will be working off a list of properties on which more than $900,000 in real estate taxes is owed. All are considered seriously delinquent and have remained unpaid for at least two years.

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If the actual property owner does not pay what is owed on the listed properties, the land is then sold at auction during a tax sale at the Lawrence County Courthouse.

The goal is to take parcels of land that are essentially non-contributing and return them to use.

Assistant prosecutor Kevin Waldo estimated that people who do not live on the property either own 65 percent of the properties on the list or the property has some physical or legal problem that limits the ability to actually use the land.

But you know what? That really isn’t the problem of the rest of the taxpayers.

Regardless of the conditions or status of the property, the owners are responsible for paying their share.

If you own it, you are responsible for paying the taxes on it.

After all, tax deadbeats only hurt the future of Lawrence County and are essentially stealing from the county’s youth because much of the county’s tax dollars go directly to the school districts in which a property lies.

We applaud the county for working hard to address this longstanding problem that keeps the county from reaching its full potential and punishes those who do abide by the law.

Tax sales are a good step in the right direction toward getting the county’s finances in order.