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Tax collections up from previous year

The first-half year tax collection period ended last Friday and there’s a bit of good news for county officeholders.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham told the Lawrence County Commission Thursday that as of Wednesday, tax collections amounted to $12,706,200.

For the same period last year, tax collections amounted to only $9.5 million.

“So, we are ahead of schedule,” Burcham told the commission.

There are two probable reasons for the increase. Last year’s delinquent tax sales, amounting to roughly $400,000-$500,000, were included in the $12.7 figure.

And Burcham said some taxpayers, perhaps sensing the county could use the money, paid their taxes for the whole year during the first-half collection period.

The deadline for second-half taxes is July 16. Most of the money collected from real estate taxes is divided among the county’s seven public school districts. The rest is divided among the county’s governmental agencies.

Burcham said he is seeing an increase in the number of people using credit cards to pay real estate taxes.

He said people who are struggling to make that twice-a-year property tax payment may sign up with his office to make monthly payments, a move that can make taxes easier to budget.

Burcham also told the commission interest income is up slightly.

He said he expects interest income on county investments this year will amount to $229,000.

That’s about $30,000 more than the county had projected to receive this year.

Interest income had taken a nosedive with the economy last year.