Tax collections must be firm

Published 10:17 am Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It may sound like a broken record but the tune is one of the most fundamental to our society: Pay your taxes or lose your property.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham continues his aggressive push to collect long-due property taxes, a move that targets nearly 300 parcels totalling more than $1 million in back taxes.

Burcham and his office should be commended for taking a firm approach to those who refuse to honor their responsibilities as citizens and property owners.

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Let’s be clear: These delinquencies are not due to the economic climate the nation faces. All these property owners are at least two years past due.

With all the attention the county has gotten recently for its financial struggles and the frequent public announcements of when tax bills are due and who owes, the clear indication is that these individuals have simply made a conscious effort not to pay their bills.

And since the bulk of all property taxes go to the school district in which the property sits, these deadbeat citizens are essentially saying that they aren’t interested in the future of our county.

For those citizens who truly do want to honor their commitments, Burcham’s office and the county are willing to work with them.

The county treasurer’s office allows property owners to set up monthly payment plans as a way to get caught up on past due taxes or ensure that residents don’t fall behind.

The bottom line is clear: Citizens who make the effort to pay their taxes will be accommodated. Those who ignore this responsibility will not be tolerated.

That is a song and dance to which everyone should pay attention.