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Spencer County taxpayers will receive their tax bills a month later than expected this year due to a clerical error which resulted in a wrong rate being printed on the bills. The issue has since been resolved and taxpayers can expect the correct rates on the bills when they are received via mail.
Spencer County Sheriff Donald “Buddy” Stump confirmed Thursday that the error was caught before the bills were mailed, and that the taxpayers should receive bills by Nov. 1. While the sheriff’s department is not in charge of certifying the rates for the county’s taxing entities, the office is charged by law to collect the bills.
“They should get them on (November) 1,” Stump said.
The error will result in taxpayers getting one less month to pay the face value of the bill, where they would have gotten two if bills went out Oct. 1. According to a public notice issued by the sheriff’s department in last week’s edition of The Spencer Magnet, they will still get one month — from Nov. 1 until Nov. 30 — to receive the 2 percent discount. Bill payers will have from Dec. 1-Dec. 31 to pay the face value of the bill. Any bills paid after that date will result in a penalty. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes, the county is within the legal provision for issuing tax bills.
Spencer County Clerk Lynn Hesselbrock told The Spencer Magnet last week that she was unsure if the bills would be reprinted and did not state who erred, but then confirmed Tuesday morning that the bills were being reprinted and took ownership of the error, saying that she planned to pay for the second printing personally.
According to the Kentucky Revised Statutes, the duty of preparing county tax bills falls upon the county clerk: “After the Department of Revenue has certified assessments completed by the property valuation administrator, the county clerk must then prepare the county tax bills.”
Hesselbrock said that in a rush, she confused the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Protection District’s real and personal property with its motor vehicle rate. Hesselbrock told The Spencer Magnet on Tuesday that she incorrectly submitted 10 cents per $100 of assessed real property, while the fire department’s correct real property rate was actually 5 cents per $100 of assessed value. The fire department’s motor vehicle rate was set at 10 cents per $100 of assessed value.
“I gave an incorrect number to the sheriff’s department,” Hesselbrock said. “I was rushed.”
Hesselbrock and Stump agreed that part of the issue in preparing tax bills was that some taxing districts wait until the last minute to submit rates.
Stump — who declined to comment on who made the error but said it did not originate from his office — said the taxing districts should submit rates in a more timely manner.
“There is a deadline that these taxing entities have to have their tax rates set, and they run it right up until that deadline every time,” Stump said. “Then, if you have one little glitch, you can’t make that Oct. 1 (deadline).”
According to documents from the fire protection district, the board of trustees approved its 2012 tax rates by resolution on July 9. It is unclear when that tax rate was forwarded to the clerk’s office.
Stump said it was not unusual for the bills to be received in November instead of October, claiming that tax bills have only gone out in October three times in the last 12 years.
“This year is going to be like it is most years,” he said. “We’re abnormal if we get it out early.”
Hesselbrock told The Spencer Magnet she requested that Stump have the printing bill for the second round of tax bills sent to her home.
“If I blow it, I’m going to take responsibility,” she said.