The Hall County Tax Commissioner’s Office has slowed its efforts to collect taxes owed on watercraft and personal property due to budget constraints and understaffing.
Tax Commissioner Darla Eden said in an email to The Times the office has instead “made the decision to keep our focus on where the majority of delinquencies were.”
Those delinquencies were largely on mobile homes. Collections on those homes were part of an initiative the office renewed last May, working with the marshal’s office, she wrote.
“For mobile homes and boats, our Marshal’s department has been working with us in a joint effort to identify, issue citations to owner of mobile homes with delinquent tax, and securing watercraft by padlocking to support efforts of collecting delinquent tax,” Eden wrote.
In the past year, the collection rate for mobile homes increased from 69.98 percent to 90.98 percent.
Watercraft and personal property tax collection has not been as successful because of challenges such as business closings, changes of ownership and sales of boats, she wrote.
There are 1,100 delinquent accounts totaling $493,122 on these properties. Eventually, she wrote, she expects to see similar increases in collections on watercraft as the office has with mobile homes, because the county depends on it.
“It is the responsibility of our office to collect taxes and if all taxes are collected in a timely matter, then county departments may operate as budgeted,” she wrote.
“When taxes go uncollected, governments are forced to use fund balance, raise millage rates or cut services to compensate for the uncollected revenue. If everyone pays in a timely manner, then the tax burden is distributed throughout the county residents to support services such as fire, EMS, sheriff, parks and leisure and courts.”