Property tax collections could change

Published 3:33 pm Monday, July 29, 2019

The way the City of Middlesboro collects property taxes could change and save the tax payers some money in the process.

“What we are advocating to do is to allow Sheriff Mitch Williams in conjunction with the County Clerk to collect our property taxes instead of us doing it,” Mayor Rick Nelson explained. “We’ve looked at numbers and here is why we think it’s better to let the sheriff do it. First of all, the sheriff collects almost all the property taxes.”

Nelson explained that the sheriff collects for the Middlesboro School System, the library, health department and solid waste extension.

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“The big thing is, Middleboro collects about 90 to 91 percent of our taxes and the sheriff collects about 98 percent and the difference in that is $25,000,” he said. “So, all things being equal, we stand coming out to the good on that financially.”

According to Nelson, Middlesboro collects $360,000 in property taxes, and the agreement is to give the sheriff for that collection 3.25 percent.

“He only gets paid if he collects and that means that we would pay him about $11,700,” he said. “Currently, what we are doing is sending out individual tax notices. We believe that looking at the numbers that this will save a lot of money to the citizens Middlesboro, and that is our main reason of doing that.”

He explained that the city is spending about $3,000 on postage to send out first notices, $500 on second notices and about $250 on third notices.

“That’s a total of about $4,000,” Nelson said. “Plus, we have personnel that are spending a lot of time on the tax collection, and we want to put them over in the business licenses and the occupational taxes to keep up with that. The sheriff would go ahead and send out the first tax form, the second notice and pay for publishing in the paper and take care of all the collections.”

The sheriff would send the city a monthly check that would be deposited.

“We think it would be a win-win,” Nelson exclaimed. “They do a turnkey job and that is why we are advocating it.”

The first reading of the ordinance will take place at the special-called meeting Tuesday at City Hall. If the first reading is approved, it will move forward to a second reading.

“It will be posted in the paper and go into effect as a new ordinance,” Nelson explained. “The city will proceed to allow the sheriff to collect property taxes.”

The special-called meeting will take place at Middlesboro City Hall in Council Chambers at 6 p.m.