Property tax deadline nearing

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— People who opted to pay their property taxes in two installments should take note of a fast-approaching deadline.

Their second payment is due in less than a week.

"We have a lot of people who wait until the last minute to do this," Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon said.

Payments must be postmarked by June 16 or turned in at the payment window of the treasurer's office by 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Because June 15 falls on a Sunday, the treasurer's office will accept walk-ins until 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Those who miss the deadline will pay a little extra for dragging their feet. Late payments incur an additional 1-percent charge after Monday.

The late fee increases by 1 percent every month the payment is not made. The treasurer's office annually sends out about 7,000 to 8,000 delinquent notices in late June.

Some people paid their property taxes in full April 30, while others chose the two-payment installment plan.

Not everyone waits until the last week to make the second property tax installment, Whiddon said.

As of May 31, the treasurer's office has collected $27.9 million in taxes, with a total of $36.2 million anticipated by the end of the year.

But those who procrastinate too long on mailing their payments or stopping by the treasurer's office with their payment could find themselves stuck with the 1-percent interest.

The county treasurer's office cannot, by law, make exceptions for anyone, Whiddon said.

Some people with late payments get upset when they learn the treasurer's office cannot write off the interest, she said, but state statutes do not permit it to do so.

"We can't waive it ... by law," Whiddon said.

Some attempts have been made at slipping payments under the door a few hours after the deadline, but any payments received after the deadline are considered late.

When the office closes June 16, all payments that have not been turned in will be charged 1 percent interest, she said.

Whiddon encouraged people with a second payment still looming to plan ahead and visit the treasurer's office early, thereby eliminating the chance of running out of time Monday.

Routt County receives 25 percent of the money generated by property taxes. The remaining 75 percent goes to schools and other taxing districts.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners has not yet set the 2004 budget, which is funded by this year's taxes.

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