By Tia Lynn Lecorchick managing editor
A new due date for property taxes will take effect in 2015 in an attempt to space out homeowners’ tax bills further from Christmas. The Morgan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted to move the due date back to Nov. 15, over a month earlier than the current due date, December 20.
Each of the commissioners consulted various constituents to garner a census of opinion on the matter, with the results decidedly in favor of the change. “We got some pretty good feedback,” said Andy Ainslie, chairman of the BOC. “Everybody was very positive. They just didn’t like doing it right before Christmas,” added Ellen Warren.
“We have always had a concern with our taxes due on December 20. It’s a tough time to pay your tax bill right before Christmas,” said Ainslie. “We started looking around to other areas to see when other counties set their due dates.”
According to Morgan County Tax Commissioner Becky Astin, the local public has been in favor of the change for quite some time. “I want to speak on behalf of the taxpayers,” said Astin at November’s BOC meeting. “And 95 percent of the people that come into our office voice an opinion on having to pay taxes on Decemember 20. They don’t like it.”
Astin reported her findings to the BOC on the dates surrounding counties use to collect property taxes. According to Astin, Oconee and Walton counties’ property taxes are due on Nov. 15 and Greene and Putnam counties are due Dec. 1.
“I think we need to get with the times and change,” said Astin. “The consensus from taxpayers is that they really want this change.” Astin was in favor of moving the tax due date to Nov. 15.
“December 1 doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t see how just a 19-day change would make much of a difference,” said Astin. “But moving the date to Nov. 15 is a better time for tax payers and gives us enough time to finish all the paperwork before the end of the year.” “I think we made the right decision and it is the best option for our taxpayers,” said Ainslie.