Tax statements to be mailed . . . sometime
by Denise Schoppe
Staff writer

The Marlin Democrat
November 30, 2005

Falls County property owners who have been watching their mail for their tax statements will have to wait a little longer according to Tax Assessor/Collector Kate Vande Veegaete.

"Bear with us," Vande Veegaete said. "We're doing our best."

Nonetheless, property owners and officials have begun asking questions. According to tax codes, tax statements are to be mailed by October 1 or "as soon thereafter as practicable." To date, no statements have arrived and numerous complaints have caught the attention of county commissioners.

"Ms. Vande Veegaete is an autonomously elected official and we can not run her office for her," County Judge Tom Sehon said, "but I have had many complaints and it is disturbing that she [closed] her office early [on Wednesday], a day that is not a county holiday. I plan to discuss this matter further with county attorney, Mike Dickson."

Vande Veegaete explained that the reasons why the statements have not yet been mailed are due to understaffing and they are doing two jobs at once.

"This is an extra job from our usual duties," she said. "We have to work on this while we take care of day-to-day business."

The tax assessor-collectors office handles vehicle tags, voter registration, and property tax collection on a daily basis. Vande Veegaete explained that in addition to this being an extra job, this year the statements have to be folded by hand, individually.

"This year's tax statements contain a five-year comparison that is state mandated, so people know if their taxes have gone up or down," she said. "This comparison of the last five years has to be matched by hand with each individual owner. We can't prefold anything; it has to be done one at a time. It's not what we want to do; its what the state says to do."

Vande Veegaete explained that she knows of the public's frustrations, and says they are working as fast as they can.

"Give us a little while and let us do our job," she said. "The phone calls and remarks that we get are not helping us get this done any faster."

Vande Veegaete said that the tax statements have come out late in past years, and that a late school bond hearing two years ago delayed the disbursement of statements into November or December. This year, she said, the preparation of the statements were delayed by the county tax rolls not being confirmed until August 22, almost a month later than usual.

Vande Veegaete could not give a projected date on when the statements would be out, but hoped it would be in the next couple of weeks.

The deadline to pay the taxes without penalty is January 31st.

Vande Veegaete encouraged anyone wishing to pay their taxes prior to the end of the year, for income tax purposes, etc., should come to the tax office, located on the second floor of the courthouse, to find out the amount of their bill and pay it in person. You may also call the office of the Tax Assessor/Collector at (254) 883-1436.

Judge Sehon also noted that it is hard to run a county when you rely heavily on the monies generated by taxes, and, when the statements don't go out you have no money coming in when it's needed the most.


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