County values go up

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, December 19, 2007

By By Lydia Grimes – features reporter
There will be an additional $380,000 in the county coffers this year, thanks in part to an increase in Escambia County property tax assessments.
Although property tax assessments have increased for 2007, the overall amounts won't cause any drastic changes for those whose budgets depend on the disbursement of the tax dollars.
The Escambia County Board of Education creates a budget at the beginning of each fiscal year based on amounts expected from the tax revenues.
Brewton City Schools also budget their year based on money from the taxes paid each October through December, city Superintendent Lynn Smith said.
Brewton City School students benefited from more than $1.2 million from county taxes last year, Smith said.
Having those funds available makes budgeting for items the school's need somewhat easier, year after year, Smith said.
Payment deadline upcoming
With more than $12.7 million dollars to be collected before year's end, tax collector Joy Wiggins is expecting a rush in payments during the coming weeks. Taxes are due each year on Oct. 1 and become delinquent Dec. 31.
The collection of taxes so far this year has been close to what the department usually sees each year.
The disbursement of the tax revenues follows the same guidelines each year, Hildreth said.
The county disperses 35 mills divided into several categories, Hildreth said.
The county's taxes are just part of the funds collected in the last quarter of each year, Hildreth said.
The call to pay property taxes hasn't slipped up on anyone since officials say notices are mailed during the summer each year.
“During July and August we send out notices letting people know that taxes are due Oct. 1 and after Dec. 31 they will be delinquent,” Hildreth said. “The 2007 taxes are based on the 2006 income tax. We allow the taxpayer to go past the deadline, but they will have to pay a three percent penalty added in January.”
If taxes go unpaid after January, a certified notice will be delivered to the person responsible for the tax payments, Hildreth said.
For those who have not made a trip to the Escambia County Courthouse, Wiggins is anxious to see you visit her office.
The Escambia County Tax Collector's office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The offices will be closed Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 for Christmas holidays.