Sullivan County Trustee Frances Harrell gives Edward Cleek his property tax bill. The deadline for payment of 2006 property taxes is Feb. 28. Erica Yoon photo.
BLOUNTVILLE - If you're a Sullivan County property owner and you haven't paid your 2006 county property taxes, you have about two weeks before late fees begin.
The deadline for payment of 2006 property taxes in Sullivan County is Feb. 28.
Penalties will be charged beginning March 1 at a rate of 1.5 percent per month.
Failure to receive a tax notice or dispute of a property's assessed worth are not excuses for not paying on time, Sullivan County Trustee Frances Harrell said.
Property owners with questions about their bill need to make inquiries with Harrell's office before the deadline. And if they didn't get a tax notice, they may call 323-6464 and another will be sent.
If you've moved in the past year and have not received a tax notice on properties you own, it might mean you need to update the information on file with the property assessor's office, Harrell said.
The trustee's office at the historic Sullivan County Courthouse in Blountville is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Offices are also located at the Bristol Justice Center and at Kingsport City Hall. They have the same operating hours as the Blountville office. Drop boxes are located at the Blountville and Kingsport offices.
Property tax payments may also be mailed to P.O. Box 550, Blountville, TN 37617. Mailed payments must be postmarked no later than Feb. 28.
To receive a receipt for payments put in drop boxes or mailed, taxpayers need to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope, Harrell said.
Sullivan County's 2006 property tax rate is $2.53 per $100 of assessed value.
That's projected to generate roughly $69 million, Harrell said.
Each penny of the 2006 tax rate will generate an estimated $275,759 for fiscal year 2007, up from $269,221 for fiscal year 2006. That means about $1.6 million in new revenue for the county, a portion of which is shared with city school systems. The increase is due to growth in the total assessed value of property in Sullivan County.
The school systems in the county get the lion's share of property tax dollars - 62 percent of the revenue goes to general school funding and another 3 percent goes for school capital projects. The county's general fund - which includes the budgets for such services as law enforcement, courts, elections, emergency medical service and county government - accounts for the next biggest chunk from property tax revenue, at 27 percent.
There is a state rebate program for elderly and disabled property owners.
According to information provided by Harrell's office:
•Homeowners or co-owners age 65 or older who have a combined income of $20,000 or less may qualify for property tax relief. Also, disabled homeowners and any co-owners who have a combined income of $20,000 or less may qualify for property tax relief. There is no age limit for disabled homeowners.
•Qualified applicants will receive property tax relief on the first $25,000 of their property's market value, an increase of $7,000 over the previous value limit.
•Disabled veteran homeowners will also get more relief from the program, as the relief amount will increase from the taxes due on the first $150,000 to the first $175,000 of market value. There is no income limit for disabled veterans to qualify.
To apply for the property tax relief program or for more information contact Harrell's office at 323-6464.
The program is administered at the state level by the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Division of Property Assessments. More information is available online at www.comptroller.state.tn.us/pa/patxr.htm.