Property tax bills appear incorrect
By Kathryn Schiliro
There’s a mistake that looks like savings on county residents’ property tax bills.
School system administration recognized last month that the notice of last year’s 2.252-mill rollback savings was still present on 2012 tax bills.
On residents’ bills, the box labeled “Mill reduction due to sales tax rollback,” under “Education Local Option Sales Tax Information” near the center of the bill, should not be present on the bill.
Last year, the school board was forced to refund more than $1.7 million to county taxpayers through a millage rate rollback, this due to an overcollection in 2006 of Education Local Option Sales Tax (ELOST) funds between ELOST II and ELOST III discovered by the Morgan County Citizen. That savings was reflected on 2011 tax bills but was mistakenly left on current tax bills.
According to Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett, after system Director of Finance Pam McWilliams brought this to Tax Commissioner Becky Astin’s attention, Astin reviewed property tax calculations and found that the inclusion of last year’s rollback information on the bill didn't affect 2012 calculations. In other words, the bottom line on residents’ tax bills is correct; this information from last year is not factored in on the right-hand side of the bill with the total.
"The Tax Commissioner assured us taxes were unaffected," Bennett told the Board of Education (BOE) at their meeting Monday.
Bennett said Astin contacted both the state Department of Audits and Department of Revenue, and that both said there were no legal issues with mistake on the bills. Further, there's no requirement that the Tax Commissioners' office reprint and resend bills.
The BOE and system shouldn't face any repercussions as "this was not our mistake," Bennett told the board.
Printed in the November 15, 2012 edition