County has collected about 95% of taxes

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Schools account for almost 60%; special districts total $5.1 million

By Todd Martin

Nearly all of Shelby County’s residents have met the call for tax bills this year, getting them paid by the end of December and avoiding penalty.

With collection starting in October and going through December for face value, Shelby County Sheriff Mike Armstrong said about 95 percent of the county’s property taxes, just less than $30 million, had been collected and dispersed.

“That’s about where we normally are this time of year,” he said. “Even with the bad economy, the collection rate hasn’t really gone down. It’s pretty much stayed very steady. Over the last few years we may have had a few more come in late and have to pay a penalty, but as far as just not paying, we don’t get a lot of those.”

The vast majority of the county’s taxes were collected in October, so taxpayers could take advantage of the 2 percent discount for paying early. The rest of the included figures are from November and December.

“October is by far our biggest month,” Armstrong said. “That’s the discount period, and then you have sixty days, through the end of December to pay the face value of the tax bill. After that, you start to incur a penalty, which can get as high as twenty-one percent. We don’t get too many of those, but you’d probably be surprised how many do get that far.”

Of the nearly $30 million collected on county property taxes from October to December last year, the school district – which has a tax rate of 71.5 cents per $100 of assessed value – has by far collected the most, at almost $17.8 million, or 59.3 percent of the revenue.

The state is next at about $3.6 million and the county is third at about $2.7 million.

After that, the area’s special taxing districts have combined to collects a little less than $5.1 million, or about 17 percent of the total.

The 16 special taxing districts receiving funds varies on each tax bill depending on where residents live.

Although the $5.1 million is quite a bit more than the county or state earns from Shelby County, it follows suit with the rest of the state.

According to State Auditor Adam Edelen’s Citizen Auditor Initiative, which started last year, 117 of the state’s 120 counties pay more in taxes to special taxing districts than they do to county governments.

And the 1,268 districts counted in Edelen’s efforts spent more than $2.7 billion in tax dollars last year alone.

According to county and state records, Shelby County’s special taxing districts are filing their budgets, as mandated by state statue.

However, Edelen noted that many across the commonwealth are not, something he has been aiming to repair.

While Shelby’s districts are following state law, which ones are mandating the most of Shelby Countians’ tax dollars?

Six special taxing districts collected more than $500,000, with the Health Department’s $914,990 leading the way, but the Shelby County Library wasn’t far behind at $856,398. Both the Conservation and Shelby County Suburban Fire districts surpassed $730,000, and the Extension Office and Simpsonville Fire districts received more than $500,000.

The Sheriff’s Office also has earned about $715,000 in commissions for collecting the bills.

The smallest amount collected so far is $7,193 sent to the South Oldham Fire District, which overlaps into a small part Shelby County.

The majority of the 18 districts – two did not collect any money – in Shelby County are fire districts, which account for 11 of the special districts and a total of about $1.8 million in taxing funds.

The tax disbursement for 2011 totaled about $31.4 million.

2012 tax year disbursement

The amount of taxes paid to each district for taxes collected October-December 2012.

State – $359,831.80

County – $2,651,695.53

School – $17,784,413.54

Library – $856,398.48

Conservation (Landfill) – $793,160.78

Health – $914,990.13

Extension Office – $503,861.49

Shelby Suburban Fire – 730,958.85

Simpsonville Fire – $582,498.96

Long Run Fire – $28,130.48

Ballardsville Fire – $17,574.06

PeeWee Valley Fire – $121,111.53

East 60 Fire – $84,439.06

Bagdad Fire – $105,882.67

Waddy Fire – $57,515.83

South Oldham Fire – 7,193.46

Mt. Eden Fire – $41.771.89

Plum Creek Fire – $7843.52

SC Fire Acres – $0.00

Meadowbrook Sewer – $0.00

Sheriff Commissions – $715,735.18

School interest – $3,318.62

Sheriff interest  – $2,216.11

Total – $29,830,159.33