People who haven't paid their taxes began accruing a 1 percent penalty per month after Nov. 15. Ninety days later, that penalty increased to 10 percent of the total taxes due, payable each delinquent month.

Goode said 18,000 tax bills were mailed. Of those, 840 remain uncollected. Some of those 840 bills represent multiple properties owned by the same person.

"Some can't pay and some wait until the last minute and some just don't want to pay," Goode said. "We have some of the same ones late every year."

Goode said regular letters are mailed and then certified letters are mailed and telephone calls are made in an attempt to inform property owners of the accounts. People move and addresses change, but that won't excuse the person responsible for paying the taxes.

"Somebody will get a notice even if the property is sold mid-year," Goode said. "Taxes are pro-rated according to how many months out of the year you own that property."

Goode said people risk their credit rating when they let their property taxes lapse into the Fi fa stage.

"Fi fas affect credit big time," Goode said. "A lien is put on their record for seven years at the courthouse. That is what I wish people would understand. They can't sell the home before they pay the taxes."

A total of $16.5 million in taxes were billed. Monday, 96.7 percent of that had been collected with $538,645 outstanding.



To contact city editor Angie Thompson, call 382-4321.

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