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Some not satistfied with Hall property tax change
Second installment due to county today
1201Tax
Stephanie Mize, left, and Dawn McDonald size up the payment window Wednesday afternoon at the Hall County Tax Commissioner's Office in downtown Gainesville. The second and final installment of Hall County property taxes is due today.

Pay your bill

Hall County property tax bills are due today

In person: Pay between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Joint Administration Building main office, 300 Henry Ward Way, Gainesville
By mail: Send to P.O. Box 1579, Gainesville, GA 30503
Pay onlineFees apply 

Hall County property taxes are due - again.

Today is the deadline for the second and final installment of Hall County property taxes; interest will be charged to late payments.

Residents who haven't already mailed in their checks should be prepared for a line at the Hall County Tax Commissioner's Office at the Joint Administration building today, said county Tax Commissioner Keith Echols, especially with the closure of auxiliary tax payment sites in South and North Hall.

Unlike the single Dec. 1 deadline in years past, there were two deadlines for payment in 2011 — half was due by Oct. 1 and the rest on Dec. 1.

It's a change that's unpopular with at least some taxpayers.

"I think it's terrible," said Gainesville resident Patsy Seals, after dropping off her payment Wednesday at the administration building.

Seals said she nearly forgot about the second payment because it was only two months after the first was due.

Seals only remembered when she decided to flip her wall calendar page from November to December, she said.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners voted in November 2010 to break up tax payments into installments, after a voter referendum showed support for the idea.

However, Echols said his office was receiving "backlash" from taxpayers who have been charged interest for payments they didn't make on time in October.

Although the county notified the public of the change through media outlets and its website, Echols said some have complained that notices of the change were not sent by mail. Echols said sending reminders to all taxpayers would have been too costly.

While some taxpayers have complained about the inconvenience of paying twice and others say the new program wasn't amply advertised, Darrel Pirkle was annoyed at paying taxes twice for a different reason.

"The only reason they moved it up was they used up last year's money and needed more money to operate. I resent that," said Pirkle, the owner of a sheet metal fabricators company.

Pirkle, who waited in line Wednesday to pay his final installment, said he doesn't mind paying taxes but he does have a problem being asked to pay them early.

Echols said the change did benefit the county more than it did the taxpayers, and the early influx of cash did prevent the county from having to borrow money to pay for services as it had in years past.

County Administrator Randy Knighton said he had not heard a lot of feedback on the new program, but said county commissioners wanted to hear thoughts from taxpayers.

Knighton said the process would likely come under review by the commission.

This week, Hall County put an online poll on its website, www.hallcounty.org, asking residents for feedback. By Wednesday evening, the results were hardly conclusive. About 54 percent of the poll's participants said they didn't like the two-installment program.

Eloise Bower, of Conyers, was one taxpayer who didn't mind the arrangement.

Bower was paying taxes as executor of her late father's estate.

"I think it's a good thing. It allows me to pay over a period of time, not all at once," Bower said.

The upbeat Bower said she didn't even mind the drive from Conyers to Gainesville.

"It was very scenic," she said.

Echols said he would recommend to commissioners that the county stop the program.

However, if it's continued, he predicted that it would probably run smoother in 2012 with the lessons learned this year.

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