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Dates set for tax collection

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

That dreaded time to pay property taxes is coming again.

"Our abstract has been pre-approved by the Auditor of State's Office and we are starting to print off the bills," Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said.

Alumbaugh and Clay County Treasurer Debbie James discussed a possible date for the first installments to be due and settled on Friday, Aug. 29. The second installment will be due Tuesday, Nov. 10.

James said they are preparing not only the tax bills, but also the comparison statements that now have to be mailed also.

"The comparison statements show how residents' tax bills have changed from last year to this year," she said. "Even those whose taxes are escrowed and paid by a bank, or whoever has the mortgage, will be receiving a statement for informational purposes. This is the first time they will receive a statement as well."

Even though Clay County is one of the first counties to send out tax bills, the process was delayed a little longer than expected.

"We had a programming glitch on one of the Tax Increment Financing files and the Auditor of State had some questions about the delinquency report on our abstract," Alumbaugh said. "The glitch was hard to find since it was on only one file and the questions on the abstract came because we only had one collection last year."

According to state law, the tax rates have to be advertised three times before they can be collected, and the collection can take place no sooner than 15 days after tax bills are mailed out.

"We hope to have all of the bills printed and mailed out by the end of July," James said. "We try to give people about a month's notice before the due date so they have more time to get their finances in order."

Residents also have additional ways of paying their property taxes this year.

"As always, they can pay them in the Treasurer's Office with cash or check," James said. "What is new this year is that they can also go to any First Financial Bank in the county and pay them with a credit or debit card as well."

A third option is also available for residents to pay their property taxes.

Taxpayers can log onto www.claytax.net, search for the property they own, and pay by credit or debit.

To accommodate for those waiting until the last minute, the Treasurer's Office will have extended hours the week prior to the due date of the first installment.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, the office will be open from 8 a.m.-noon, and from Aug. 25-29, office hours will be 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

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