Special election for Hall County residents
"Shall the Hall County Commission direct the Tax Commissioner of Hall County to bill property taxes in two mandatory installments? The first installment will become due October 1 and the second installment will become due Dec. 1. Failure to remit any payment by its installment due date will result in a state-mandated percent penalty being applied to the principle balance."
What does it mean?
This question is to gauge the interest in paying Hall County property taxes in two installments rather than once at the end of the year.
This is the second time this question will appear on the ballot for Hall County voters. In November 2008, nearly 70 percent of voters answered they would prefer to pay taxes twice a year.
But in late 2009, Hall County Board of Commissioners were ready to approve Oct. 1 and Dec. 1 due dates when they learned state law would require a 5 percent penalty if the first installment is not paid by the Oct. 1 due date.
Since the state penalty was not explained on the ballot the first time, the commission decided to put it back to the people to see if they would still be interested.
Hall County voters are again being asked for their thoughts on paying property taxes in two installments.
The nonbinding referendum on the general election ballot will clearly explain the mandatory due dates and penalties required by state law if voters choose to have their taxes collected twice a year.
The question was first proposed to voters in a nonbinding referendum in November 2008. Nearly 70 percent of voters answered they would prefer to pay taxes twice a year.
But in late 2009, commissioners were ready to approve Oct. 1 and Dec. 1 due dates when they learned state law would require a 5 percent penalty if the first installment is not paid by the Oct. 1 due date.
The commissioners decided to delay collecting twice a year because they weren’t convinced it would be in the best interest of taxpayers.
Commissioners agreed it would be important to put the matter before voters again and let them make a decision with all the information.
The majority of commissioners disagree with collecting taxes in two installments. Aside from the strict penalty, it could also create additional costs for the county if the Tax Commissioner’s Office has to send out an additional bill.
“I’m against it and I think it’s quite confusing, I think it will create a lot of hardship on some people,” Chairman Tom Oliver said.
“If you miss one day, it’s a 5 percent penalty — credit card people won’t do that to you.”
Supporters say being able to make two smaller payments is helpful, especially since the Dec. 1 due date is so close to Christmas.
The results of the referendum will show how much the state imposed penalty affects its popularity.
“We’ll see what we get,” Oliver said.