Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tax notices mailed

In an effort to notify property owners of any past due property tax balances from 2009, the Revenue Division of the City of Decatur mailed out 603 notices yesterday to owners who either made no or partial payments. Penalties and interest have been accruing on unpaid balances since our payment grace period ended on January 7.

We mailed out the original bills in two installments in April and October last year.  Why do some bills go unpaid?  Sometimes it involves an unwillingness or inability to pay, but in several instances the delinquency is due to a simple, temporary oversight.  Occasionally these bills are overlooked by new owners who purchased a property within the last several months who thought everything was “handled at closing.” We also run into owners who just changed their mailing address, but we sent the bill to the most recent address we had on file.

Periodically we run into issues with our residents’ mortgage companies. For example, we have received several calls today (and a note forwarded from Geoff Koski, publisher of Decatur News Online) from property owners who received a late notice from us, but who were told by Bank of America that their taxes have been paid.

We received a large check from Bank of America on Dec. 21 that covered 119 of their Decatur accounts, and we posted that payment in December to all the accounts that the bank listed. We did not send late notices to any customer whose account was paid by that Dec. 21 check.

However, we did not receive any other major checks from Bank of America in December or January for any of their additional customers. We have been communicating with Bank of America to find out what’s going on. No check has cleared our bank with the check number, check date, or check amount that Bank of America has provided.

A final note--if you’ve received a late notice in error, please accept my apology. Your payment may have arrived just after we printed out the bills. If you believe that your lender, our office, or a bank somewhere in between, has made an error, and that your taxes are actually paid, please call us immediately at 404-370-4100 so we can start to rectify the situation. To ensure the best service possible, please have a copy of your tax bill on hand when you call.

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