Collins levy on tax bill

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

County property owners who paid the entire year of taxes when the first half was due will still get a tax bill this month.

That is because the Collins Career Center tax levy was left off the first-half bills sent out earlier in the year.

“We have been swamped with calls from concerned individuals, people who have paid their tax bills and don’t understand why they are getting a bill on the second half,” Lawrence County Treasurer Stephen Burcham said. “The auditor’s office didn’t put it on the first half. That is why.”

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In March the auditor’s office discovered that the one-half mill levy had not been placed on the tax duplicate for the first half of property taxes sent out in January. The levy is set to bring in $400,000 a year over five years for the vocational schools. The money is to fund the maintenance on a $22-million major overhaul of the facility.

It was passed in March 2012. In December when Chief Deputy Auditor Chris Kline was getting the tax rates together he did not have a letter of certification from the county board of elections about the levy.

Sending a letter of certification to the auditor’s office and the state department of taxation is required by the board of elections after voters pass any levy.

When Kline discovered the error, he contacted the state taxation department to see if it had a copy of the certification.

“When they received my rates, they should have compared them to the levy results from the board of elections,” Kline said. “If they had received (the results) they should have caught it as well.”

After the error was found, the state department ordered that the entire amount of the levy be placed on the second half tax bills sent out on Friday and due July 19.

Although elections board member Mark McCown said it was his understanding the board director had notified the necessary parties, safeguards have since been put in place.