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Tax bills to be mailed by end of month

Coming soon to a mailbox near you: The tax bills for Lawrence County’s second-half real estate collection period.

Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham said the bills should be mailed to homeowners by next Friday. The second-half collection period will end July 16.

Meanwhile, the 2010 first-half tax collection period set a record. Burcham said $15,104,339 in real estate taxes were paid — beating 2009’s first-half total of $14,732,000.

Why the increase?

“Part of the reason was the re-valuation that increased taxes slightly,” Burcham explained. “But I also think we’ve provided several options for people to make their tax payments. We take credit cards, people can make payments when they do their banking. We’ve made it easier for people to pay and we’ve been pretty aggressive in collecting delinquent taxes.”

Burcham said the increase in tax collections locally comes at a time when other counties are seeing a decrease in collections due in part to the poor economy.

“I think it speaks well of Lawrence County and I appreciate everyone’s conscientious effort to pay their property taxes,” Burcham said.

Burcham said he anticipates second-half collections to fall between $6.5 and $7 million.

While individuals have until July 16 to pay their taxes, Lawrence County now requires escrow companies to make tax payments on behalf of their clients by July 1.

Burcham said his office frequently fields phone calls from concerned property owners asking if their escrowed tax amounts have been sent to the treasurer’s office in time to meet the tax collection deadline.

Burcham said setting an earlier deadline for escrow companies to forward their tax amounts will allow his staff to be able to answer any concerns people might have about their taxes being paid.