Tax collection rate soars

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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Wise County citizens are paying property taxes at a record pace.

Attorney Glenn Smith told county commissioners Monday that 99 percent of tax bills had been paid at the end of September 2012. His firm, Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson LLP, handles delinquent tax collections for the county.

“Ninety-nine is not normal; that’s very high, especially when you’re not factoring in interest or penalities,” he said. “You see that in Highland Park or Southlake Carroll school district [where there are numerous high-value properties], but to have that in a mixture of properties is unusual.”

Smith said with interest and penalties, the local collection rate is 101.3 percent.

“I don’t know how much higher that can get,” he said.

Smith did note that they were forced to seize seven properties.

“We never go collect property without having sent numerous letters and visiting the properties,” Smith said. “Of our 24 visits, seven just didn’t get religion, and we had to take the next step.”

He said they seized an additional three in the last 30 days, but overall “things are good.”

Tax collector Monte Shaw said it’s “fortunate to be at 99 percent.”

“…it’s a testament to the people of Wise County,” he said. “They continue to pay their taxes.”

Commissioners presented a plaque to former Precinct 2 Constable Leonard Denney, honoring his 29 years of service to the county. (See related story on page 6.)

They also had plaques for former Precinct 1 Constable Tom Bishop, who recently left office, and Claudine Brown, who is retiring from the maintenance department. Bishop served one term after being elected in 2008, and Brown began working for the county April 21, 1989. She plans to retire Jan. 25. Neither Bishop nor Brown attended the meeting.

In other business, commissioners approved:

  • the reappointment of Dr. Jon Walker to a two-year term as Wise County Health Authority;
  • the appointment of Scott Farver and Jerry McEntire to the board of directors for Wise County Emergency Services District No. 1.
  • the final plat for the Rancho La Isabel Addition, Lot 1, Block 1, in Precinct 1.
  • the bid from Kossie Dethloff for “struck-off property” from the Wise County tax roll, as described in suit No. 10116, Bridgeport ISD vs. Calvin Dethloff.

They tabled:

  • the bid from Troy Gregg for “struck-off property” from the Wise County tax roll as described in suit No. TX10702, Northwest ISD vs. The Unknown Heirs and/or devisees of the Estate of Mary Ethel Lambert.
  • the final plat for Pietila Five Addition, Lots 1-6, in Precinct 1.

They accepted the following donations:

  • $248.85 and $252.85 from Cans for Canines to the Wise County Animal Shelter.

Commissioners’ next regular meeting is 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28, in the third-floor conference room of the courthouse in Decatur.

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