published Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Hamilton County offering new options on taxes

  • photo
    Hamilton County Commissioner Bill Hullander participates in a county commission meeting in this file photo.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

TAX PAYMENTS

The trustee's offices are located at the Hamilton County Courthouse, 625 Georgia Ave., and at 6125 Preservation Drive, Suite 101, in the Bonny Oaks Industrial Park. Both will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last two Saturdays in February. In addition, the County Courthouse office will be open until 9 p.m. on Feb. 29.

Hamilton County Trustee Bill Hullander is getting creative in his effort to rake in the $236.2 million local taxpayers owe in 2011 property and other taxes.

Among other plans, he is accepting partial payments and planning special hours to accommodate more taxpayers before the 2011 taxes become delinquent on March 1.

He also has kept the office open on days it might usually have been closed.

"We stayed open on Dec. 31 and that helped us," Hullander said. "Just that one day contributed to more than $1 million" between window collections and mailed payments.

"We have taken in about $3 million more this year than we had at the same time last year," Hullander said. "Of the amount of our tax levy, 53 percent of the dollars have come in."

By Jan. 20, his office collected at least $121.4 million of the 2011 taxes, and more than $4 million in other back taxes. At the same point last year, the county had only collected $118.4 million of the $233.7 million levied during that year.

County Commission Chairman Larry Henry said this year's haul is a testament to a strong tax base.

"It should show that there's a little stability in the community," he said.

During the last tax year, Hullander petitioned the state to begin accepting partial payments. Prior to the 2010 year, any amount short of the total due for the year would be rejected.

Those taxpayers who are delinquent from the 2008 tax year have until the end of February to pay that year's taxes in full to avoid having their property sold in June's trustee tax sale, Hullander said.

Beginning March 1, those delinquent on their 2008 taxes will be required to pay the lump sum of all back taxes to prevent a forced sale, he said.

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

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