City notifies property tax delinquents

By Julie Fann
Star staff

City residents delinquent in paying 1999 property taxes could lose their homes if they don't make restitution. According to the city attorney's office, 23 residents have been notified that they missed the April 1 deadline for paying property taxes.
   "We take it very seriously," Ruth Bowers, secretary for the city attorney's office, said of the city's intent to follow through on its commitment to collect taxes. "We don't want anyone's property to be sold down at the courthouse. We try to let people know that, if their income is below the poverty line, they can get help from the state," she said.
   According to city records, delinquent property taxes total $45,968 while the value of all assessed property in the city is $124,439,180. North American Polyester and XL Corporation owe 80 percent of the delinquent tax total. North American Polyester owes $21,259 in 1999 and earlier taxes, and XL owes $15,417.
   All of the remaining taxes owed total $9,061. Bowers explained that 10 of the residents on the list are deceased, nine are residents of Meadowbrook Trailer Park, and three properties have only one owner. Bowers said that the corporate office for Meadowbrook, located in Florida, is determined that renters will pay the property tax debt they have accumulated.
   Bowers also explained that the amount that taxpayers owe is larger now because it has accrued interest at a rate of one and a half percent a month. Also, residents must pay a collection fee on the amount. "So, for instance, someone who owed $40 to begin with will now be paying $109," she said.
   Bowers said that the Clerk and Master's office summoned residents on April 4 by certified mail. Now, if property owners don't make their payment, the court will set a date for the public sale of their property.