09/01/04 — Bigger tax bills hit Wayne County property owners

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Bigger tax bills hit Wayne County property owners

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on September 1, 2004 1:59 PM

School, football and hurricanes have already arrived. Now here comes the fourth horseman of the fall — property tax bills.

The Wayne County Tax Department mailed nearly 63,000 notices Friday, so by now most people should know what they owe.

Already, some people have shown up at the courthouse with checkbooks in hand, interim Tax Collector Tammy Peele said. “We always have quite a bit of traffic at the start. Some people are very eager to go ahead and settle up.”

Property tax bills are technically due today, but they can be paid without additional charge through early 2005. Wednesday, Jan. 5, will be the last day the notices can be paid before interest is added.

The bills shouldn’t have many surprises for property owners. The county updated its property values in early 2003, but those values wouldn’t have changed this year unless people improved their properties.

The county is using the property tax rate of 66 cents per $100 valuation for the second year in a row. Most municipal and fire district tax rates are also the same.

One difference is in the tax office. Earlier this year, the lobby was enlarged to give customers more room. Lawyers and other frequent visitors have given the thumbs up to the new layout, which should help during the last-minute rush to pay bills, Mrs. Peele said.

The county staff still gets the occasional question about the mailing address for tax payments, she said. The county is continuing to use a Charlotte firm to process payments because it’s more efficient. The contractor is able to deposit payments quicker than the staff was.

People still have the option of paying in person. There’s also a drop box outside the courthouse on Ormond Avenue for anyone wanting to save the cost of a stamp.

If people have not received a tax bill by next week, they should call or stop by the tax office. They can also do so to correct any mistakes in their bills, such as misspelled names, wrong addresses, etc.

Mrs. Peele was appointed the interim tax collector in July, following the retirement of long-time collector Tom West. She has worked for the tax office nearly seven years, including the past two as deputy tax collector.