By RICK NORTON
Now that property tax notices have found their way to Bradley County mailboxes everywhere, Trustee Mike Smith has confirmed the first enrollment period for the popular partial payment program is now …
Now that property tax notices have found their way to Bradley County mailboxes everywhere, Trustee Mike Smith has confirmed the first enrollment period for the popular partial payment program is now underway.
The current enrollment for partial payment (which is also known as the 12-month payment program) continues through Dec. 8. A second enrollment opportunity will be offered Jan. 3 through Feb. 9 in 2018.
Now entering its eighth year, the partial payment option was launched in 2010 with one objective; that is, to take away the sting of the traditional once-a-year, lump-sum payment.
“The 12-month payment plan has become an extremely popular program that assists Bradley County property owners in the payment of their property taxes,” Smith said. “The number of parcels included in this plan has exceeded expectations, and we are confident the numbers will increase.”
Currently, the Trustee’s Office — which is temporarily located at 1801 Keith St. in the old SouthEast Bank building at the intersection of 17th and Keith streets — has on file 1,336 parcels in the partial payment program.
Although monthly payments are the most popular method among Bradley County residents choosing the partial plan, other options are available. For example, some partial payment users might choose quarterly payments or twice a year, instead of monthly.
Says Smith, it depends on the cash flow and comfort level of the taxpayer.
“The decision on the amount to be paid each month [or in other increments] is the sole responsibility of the taxpayer,” Smith said. “Requirements of the program will be fully explained during the enrollment process.”
For 2018 property taxes in the partial payment program, the first payment will be due March 15, 2018.
The installment program will include three methods of payment: automatic withdrawal from a valid checking account, mailed payments using the U.S. Postal Service and payments made in person at the Trustee’s Office.
“For Bradley County residents wishing to have the payment drawn from a valid checking account, a voided check will be required when they sign up here at our temporary location,” Smith explained.
The Trustee’s Office also has a partial payment program available for current and delinquent real and personal taxes. This program allows partial payments through Feb. 28, 2018, Smith said.
In order to make their partial payments, taxpayers have the choice of personal checks, credit cards, cash or automatic withdrawal.
Smith remembers the launch of the partial payment program seven years ago. Ironically, its development came at the suggestion of taxpayers whose cash flow struggled to make the single lump-sum payment. They asked for options where they could make smaller payments over time; hence, the launch of the installment program.
In its 2010 inception, the goal was to sign up 500 parcels within the first five years. That target was eclipsed in only three years, Smith recalled.
The longtime trustee referred back to a comment he has made before, and most recently in the March 13, 2017, edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner.
“We’ve said this many times before, and we’ll continue to say it: Partial payment proves that some Bradley County citizens need a little help to keep their tax commitments paid up,” Smith said then. “That doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to pay, because they’re not. They simply need a little help — some options, such as a less impactful installment plan — to pay their taxes.”
For additional information about the partial payment plan, contact the Trustee’s Office at 423-728-7247.
Office hours remain the same in the temporary location: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.
“The 12-month payment plan has become an extremely popular program that assists Bradley County property owners in the payment of their property taxes. The number of parcels included in this plan has exceeded expectations, and we are confident the numbers will increase.” — Trustee Mike Smith
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