County continues collecting money from tax bills
by Michele Longworth
Aug 29, 2012 | 1217 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Property tax bills have been showing up in mailboxes over the past few weeks and Massac County Treasurer Floyd Sullivan has reported to the Massac County Commissioners that individuals are coming in to pay early.

Sullivan also has said that the majority of the property owners coming in to pay have been paying both installments at one time.

Understanding how the property tax system works can often be confusing because the real estate bills are paid one year behind. The current tax bills that have been sent to property owners are for the 2011 taxing cycle.

Sullivan says Illinois state law says the property tax bills should be sent out 30 days prior to the first installment date, "or when the work is completed." He said in 2011, property tax bills were not mailed out until late November, with due dates that extended into January and February of this year. Those tax bills were for the property tax year of 2010.

According to Sullivan, in Massac County's history, that was the latest property tax bills had ever been mailed out. Sullivan also pointed out other surrounding counties were also late sending out their tax bills last year too.

Sullivan emphasizes tax bills that show increases can do so for several reasons. Among them are increases in levies and tax rates, an increased assessment, a local or state multiplier, the removal of exemptions or the completion of construction.

The levy is the amount of money a taxing body requests. In contrast, an extension is the amount of money the taxing body can actually be granted. The extension amount is based on tax rates, property assessments and other factors.

Some funds, such as county highway and school districts, are required to tax to the maximum rate set by law. If they do not, they lose state funding.

Massac County Clerk John Taylor said that since Shawnee Community College overlaps several taxing districts, it is not subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL).

The tax rate is the number of cents per $100 of assessed valuation that a taxing body, such as county general fund, requires in order to get the total amount that it wants to receive.

According to information from Taylor's office, there are roughly 19 taxing bodies for which Massac County collects money. Some of those taxing bodies include: Massac County; Massac County Hospital; Vienna District 55; Massac County Fire District; Vienna High School; Shawnee Community College; County Unit Road; Joppa Sanitary District; Massac Unit One; Joppa-Maple Grove; Century Unit 100; City of Brookport; City of Joppa; City of Metropolis; Bay Creek Conservation District; Upper Cache Conservation district; as well as three Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts for the city of Metropolis.

According to Taylor, under Massac County's tax levy, the county levies money for Massac County Mental Health, TB sanitarium and Massac Health Facilities, which are pass through accounts. Meaning the money the county collects for these accounts will go to those entities and none of that money collected will go to the county's corporate general fund.

How much money will the county receive?

For all of the taxing bodies the county collects money for, the total amount expected will be roughly about $13.8 million. However, the money coming into the county will only be about $2.3 million and the county's general fund, which pays for all of the county's expenses extension, is only expected to receive $458,118, which is only a very small percentage of the total amount of money that is collected and sent on to other taxing bodies.

According to the tax levy information from Taylor's office, Massac Unit One, which levies for 11 funds, expects its extension total for all funds to be $5,832,497. The total tax rate for Unit One is 4.20590 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The Joppa Maple Grove School District levies money for a total of 11 funds and the fund extension total that the district expects to receive is $1,587,181. The total tax rate for Joppa Maple Grove is 5.18170 per $100 of assessed valuation.

Taylor said it depends on where individuals in the county live, that determines which levies they pay. For example, a property owner residing in Joppa, would not pay the levy for the City of Metropolis or Massac Unit One School District.

The City of Brookport levies for 10 funds and the total fund extension total that is expected is $31,737, with the total tax rate of .92060 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The City of Metropolis levies for 13 funds and the total fund extension total that is expected is $520,960, with the total tax rate of .87810 per $100 of assessed valuation.

In the Village of Joppa, there are a total of 11 funds that are levied for, with the village's fund extension total expected to receive $10,166.

Sullivan pointed out that as the property tax money is collected, before disbursements can be made to the taxing bodies, the county will have to pay back the $250,000 loan the county had borrowed earlier this year toward this year's taxes.

The first installment date will be Tuesday, September 18 and the second installment will come due on Tuesday, October 23.

Sullivan stresses it is state law that there is a late penalty charge for payments made after the installment date. He said property owners who do not receive a tax bill need to contact his office immediately.

Property owners are responsible for their property tax payments whether they receive their bills or not.

"Failure to receive a bill does not remove a property owner's responsibility to pay property taxes," Sullivan said. "I can't stress enough that property owners must make sure they obtain their bills."

Anyone who receives a bill for which he or she is no longer responsible is asked to forward the bill to the new property owner, send it to the appropriate financial agency in case the agency pays the bill, or send the bill back to the treasurer's office with the new owner's name and address.

Any individuals with questions about tax levies and tax rates may contact Taylor's office at 524-5213; for questions about assessed valuations, calls may be directed to the Supervisor of Assessments Gary Hamm at 524-9632. "When people come down to complain to my office about the assessed value on that tax bill it cannot be disputed and changed for the 2011 tax year if individuals believe we assessed it wrong; however we will be happy to look at reassessing it for the 2012 tax year. My office will not talk about taxes as we are not the ones who levy the taxes," said Hamm.

Anyone needing more information about the tax bills, due dates or penalties may contact Sullivan at 524-5121.

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