MILLEDGEVILLE — The percentage of city property taxes collected for 2012 before the deadline exceeded the percentage from the previous year due to the city’s finance department getting “creative.”
“As of the Dec. 19 due date, we collected over 80 percent of our taxes, which is unheard of; that’s excellent. We changed the way we do things significantly last year,” said Patti Rushin, manager of the city’s finance department. “We have a multitude of bills that are returned undeliverable due to properties having different owners and a number of other reasons. We have to get those bills back out and we have to be creative in how we go about figuring out where people are; there’s not just one way to do it.”
With the help of staff, Rushin used the phone book, Internet and other available resources to track down property owners to keep them from getting hit with penalties.
Less than 20 percent of property owners missed the Dec. 19 deadline. A one-time penalty charge of 10 percent is added and an interest charge of 1 percent per month is affixed to city tax bills not received by the due date.
“If you have missed the deadline, then penalties have accrued, so don’t pay from the bill you have received. Call or look on our website to check your new balance. We will be sending out past-due bills between now and February,” Rushin advised. “Typically mortgage companies will wait until the last minute to send them in, so if you have an escrow account, call your mortgage company to make sure they have paid.”
Property taxes can be paid in person at the finance office in City Hall, located on Hancock Street, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The drive-thru window is also available for individuals able to present their bill, or bills can be dropped in the drop box located beside the drive-thru window. Another option is to mail payments to P.O. Box 1900, Milledgeville, Ga. 31059.