Look a little closer at tax bills

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By Shannon Brock

Citizens should pay close attention to their tax bills this year, as those in escrow will most likely be responsible for forwarding them on to their mortgage companies.
Sheriff Buddy Stump said the practice isn’t new or unique to Spencer County, but said fewer mortgage companies are requesting their clients’ bills because of technological advances in the process.
Stump said even under previous administrations no tax bills were forwarded on to mortgage companies without the company requesting them.
The tax bills used to be printed on multi-layer carbon copy forms, and when a mortgage company requested its clients’ bills, copies were forwarded.
However, within the last two to three years, before Stump took office, the change was made to print tax bills on postcards, Stump said.
The postcards carry a cheaper postal rate, he said.
Although it is not involved in the collection process, the property valuation administrator’s office does produce the numerical figures. Then, a contracted company prints and mails the bills to the homeowner’s address of record in the PVA office.
Stump said his office will forward on tax bills that are requested by mortgage companies, but now charges a fee to that company to do so.
Because more counties are switching to this method, fewer mortgage companies are requesting bills, Stump said.
Only five mortgage companies contacted the sheriff’s office this year, he said.
Of those five, some opted to pay the fee, while others opted to pay their own personnel to visit the sheriff’s office and search the public computer for its clients. Another company said it had already purchased a tax bill roll from the PVA’s office.
“Some [companies] just don’t request them because a lot of counties are doing it this way,” he said. “We’ve already printed and mailed them once, and we will pull them again for a fee; however, this year, mortgage companies know what is going on.”
Stump said the costs of postage and printing, as well as the cost of simply employing personnel, have gone up, and “we have to look at more economical ways of accomplishing the same job.”
“We’re doing it in a more economical way,” he said. “And I believe we’re getting more for our dollars than we were in the past.”