Trustee: Partial payment plan proves positive
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Aug 12, 2014 | 755 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith presented his annual report to the County Commission Monday, and the county’s bank book is looking pretty good.

Smith points to the success of the partial payment program for taxes as one of the reasons for the positive report.

The plan allows taxpayers to divide their tax bill into 12 payments from March through February. Those payments can be made in person, by mail or bank draft.

According to his figures, Smith reports participation in the program has increased from 573 to 743 over the past year.

The total amount to be collected under the program for 2014 is $469,115, which is up almost $80,000 from the 2013 tax year.

Smith is also reporting there are currently 1,232 parcels listed on the tax-freeze program. That equals 2.6 percent of the total Bradley County taxpayers.

There are also 1,518 taxpayers on tax-relief programs which equals $261,436 of relief by county taxpayers who fall under the categories of disabled, elderly, disabled veteran and disabled veteran widow.

County sales tax collections for the 2013-14 fiscal year are reported as $3,766,575 — down from last year’s $4,290,126.

However, both the cities of Cleveland and Charleston have seen increases of $30,000 and $1.1 million respectively.

County tax revenue of real/personal/utilities for 2013 was $39,843,593, which was slightly down from 2012 because of a miscalculation of the certified tax rate.

Smith is also reporting the county’s fiscal year interest earned in 2013-14 was 576 percent of the federal fund rate.

“There has been a $4,512,112 interest increase over the past eight years due to current investment strategy,” Smith said.

The total interest collected from September 2006 though June 2014 is $7,879,690.

“Since 2006, the Trustee’s Office has implemented numerous programs to assist Bradley County taxpayers,” Smith said. “In addition, the number of parcels to be collected has risen from 46,591 in 2006 to 50,9073 in 2014 — a 9 percent increase.”

He noted through the use of technology and management practices, the office has maintained the same staff levels that were in place in 2006.

Smith also announced the office will begin sending out tax statements by email beginning in October 2015.

“The Trustee’s Office will be updating the tax processing software in spring/summer 2015, and that will aid in email tax billing,” Smith said.