Tax bills behind schedule

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

As the Dec. 5 tax bills due date approaches, County Treasurer Patricia Berkeley said tax bills being mailed out are currently running behind schedule.

“We are getting ready for our next billing,” said Berkeley. “We are running a little behind.”

She said the Commissioner of Revenue has released personal property tax information, however, real estate tax information is still pending.

Berkeley said once real estate information is received, the information could be sent to the printers.

She said she did not want to have mistakes and the printers need at least a week. “We’re running a little behind what I like for it to be …”

Berkeley said there was also emphasis placed on the fact that there was a large uncollected balance of taxes in the county.

“Since July 1, we have receded over $400,000 in just taxes alone,” said Berkeley. “We have also issued over 600 third party tax liens since Aug. 1. We have issued 329 additional stops to what we already had on vehicles. We have hit collections really hard in the last month or so …”

She said the her office is continuing to do that and moving forward doing the best they can to collect money owed.

In August, Berkeley said while things are not as chaotic as they were last year with the updated tax software system, “they are still very problematic and very concerning to me.”

“I’m not happy with the situation …” said Berkeley previously. She said her main concern is the fact that the company is not able to fix the issues being faced in both the Treasurer’s Officer as well as the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office in a timely manner.

The company, RDA Systems, updated the existing software to a program called Breeze, in which Charlotte County served as the beta test site for an updated version of the software.

Previously, the due date for real estate and personal property taxes in the county were extended because of problems with the software system.

Berkeley also previously discussed going out with an RFP to see what other tax software systems are available.

“My thought has been for months we need to go ahead and do an RFP if the Commissioner is in agreeance with me because we are joined together in the same system,” said Berkeley in August.

She said the problems have been going on since May 2017.

At the October meeting, Aspen/Phenix Supervisor Donna Fore asked if the RFP went out.

“It has not gone out due to the fact that we’re trying to get billing out,” said Berkeley.

She said a copy of an old RFP has been forwarded from Purchaser/Planning Agent Monica Elder for any adjustments that may be needed before issuance.

“But, we’ve been focusing on trying to get the bills out. Our thought is, we’re gonna get the bills out, we’re going to let that go …” Berkeley said.

She said she recently met with an RDA Representative who said certain problematic items would be addressed within the system by the end of this quarter.

“They’re still trying to get it working, we’re still trying to work with them the best we can, but it’s to the point now that we do need to explore the possibilities and to see what’s out there and what kind of cost is involved,” Berkeley said.

Fore suggested Berkeley come back with an update next month.

“I think it’s important that you have a functioning accounting system …” said Fore.

In August, Drakes Branch Supervisor Garland H. Hamlett, Jr. said based on what Berkeley said, when taxes are done again there will still be errors.

“I just don’t know …” said Berkeley previously. “I’m hoping that we’ll be able to even bill timely in the fall …”

She said the county had been with the same company since 1994 and she was trying to give them a chance.

“We are moving forward, it’s just sometimes these things take a little time to work out,” said Berkeley.

Taxes are typically due Dec. 5 for the first half of the fiscal year and June 5 for the remainder of the year.