County Mistake Will Raise Property Taxes

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Residents from Pine, Strawberry, Tonto Basin and Young will have to cough up more money for their property taxes this year due to a mistake by the Gila County treasurer’s office.

A postcard sent out by the treasurer’s office reads, “A review by the Arizona Department of Revenue has revealed the ‘Less State Aid to Education’ was incorrect. This will generate an increase in your taxes. A corrected tax notice with a new delinquency date will be mailed soon.”

The county will have to recalculate the difference in the amount due before sending out a new bill.

Donna Hadley received a postcard notice, but still has not seen a revised tax bill though the delinquency date looms.

“I don’t want to be penalized,” she said.

Gila County Treasurer Debi Savage admitted the treasurer’s office made a mistake when calculating how much the state would send to school districts in those communities. The county picked up a rate from the wrong line sent from the state, said Savage.

Because the rate was calculated at too high a rate, taxpayers believed the state would pay for more than it actually will.

The county sets the local property tax rate in consultation with school districts to generate enough money to cover the budget projections. When the state aid goes down, the school’s local property tax rate must go up county officials have said in budget meetings.

“We’re not perfect. Mistakes get made,” said Savage.

The new tax bills are currently at the printer and will be available to the treasurer’s office by the middle of next week, said Savage. Complicating the issue, however, is the fact many bills have already been paid. All of this will back up the delinquency date to Dec. 12, said Savage.

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