Second tax payment due soon

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People who decided to pay their property taxes in two installments should be aware the second payment is due in less than a week.

Payments must be postmarked by June 15 or turned in at the payment window of the treasurer's office by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"Our other two deadlines are the end of February and the end of April," Routt County Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon said. "June 15 is kind of an unusual date. It is one people don't anticipate."

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

Missing the deadline could mean another 1 percent charge per month, which increases by 1 percent every month the payment is not made. That works out to $10 for $1,000 owed, Whiddon said.

The treasurer's office annually sends out 7,000 to 8,000 delinquent notices in late June.

To avoid paying late charges, people should try not to wait until the last day to mail the payment, even though the office judges whether a payment is late by the postmark.

Occasionally, a payment will fall through the cracks, Whiddon said. It might not be the fault of the person paying, but the county treasurer's office cannot, by law, make exceptions for anyone, Whiddon said.

"We can't waive the penalty for any reason," she said. "Our hands are tied by state statute."

Payments slipped under the door a few hours after the deadline also will be considered late, Whiddon said.

Whiddon encouraged people with a second payment looming to plan ahead and visit the treasurer's office early, being careful not to run out of time Tuesday.

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

County commissioners have not set the 2005 budget, which is funded by this year's taxes.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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