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Fayette County tax collectors' postal expenses cause concern

| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Fayette County commissioners changed the wording in a resolution to make it clear that tax collectors are not to submit more than two bills per parcel for real estate tax notices.

The board on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of the changes.

Controller Sean Lally said he discovered the need to clarify the resolution's language while conducting audits.

“We had certain tax collectors with exorbitant amounts of postal expenses,” Lally said.

Lally said tax collectors are paid $2.05 per each real estate tax notice that is mailed out. Some collectors, he said, billed the county for multiple mailings per parcel, resulting in “thousands and thousands of dollars billed.”

In one instance, he said, a bill submitted by an unidentified tax collector would have required the collector to have mailed out eight notices per parcel. Lally said “there's no way” the collector could have mailed out that many notices per parcel.

The resolution makes it clear that tax collectors can bill for a maximum of two notices per parcel for real estate taxes and just one for per-capita taxes, Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink said. She said the per-capita rate is 15 cents per bill.

The rate per tax bill will be increased to $2.20 each on Dec. 31, she said.

In an unrelated matter, commissioners adopted a set of policies for the sale of county-owned properties via a repository sale that sets minimum bids for each parcel.

The minimum, in most instances, will be equal to the county's administrative costs associated with the properties. On parcels where that figure could not be determined, the minimum bid will be $100.

Zimmerlink said there are 209 county-owned properties that are to be sold at the repository sale. Commissioner Vincent Zapotosky said the properties are difficult to sell because most need extensive repairs or are in such disrepair they should be demolished.

The county will begin accepting sealed bids on the properties on May 1, according to Zimmerlink.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com

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