Thomas Co. hands over delinquent tax collection - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Co. hands over delinquent tax collection

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) – The collection of delinquent taxes is keeping the Thomas County Sheriff's office busy.

The job was handed over by the tax commissioner last year and tonight the Sheriff says the work is taking up critical resources and preventing officers from doing their job, keeping Thomas County safe.

In early 2009, the Thomas County Tax commissioner Shirley Prevatt relinquished her ex-officio sheriff duties and said she'd no longer collect delinquent taxes. By law, the duty fell to the Sheriff's office.

"I do not know why it was given to us," said Thomas County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Steven Jones. "All I know is that it was given to us and we've done the best we can with what we have to work with."

Prevatt would not give us a reason why she chose not to collect the taxes. That forced the Thomas County Sheriff's office to learn how to handle the delinquent taxes.

"We haven't been able to add any personnel," explained Jones. "We've just had to absorb it and do what we can. It takes a lot of clerical work, takes administrator time, it takes away from officers."

On the 15th of every month, the clerks must add interest to every delinquent tax, all 2000 of them.

To relieve some of the pressure and overtime pay involved with doing the extra work, the sheriff's office contracted with a firm out of Snellville to help them beginning March 1st.

"To help us do some of the legwork and take some pressure off of us and search and track these people down and send out certified letters. As far as I know, we're the only sheriff's office in Georgia doing tax collection. It's not unusual for the tax commissioner to hire a firm such as the one we'll be working with to assist them in collection."

Which may leave some wondering why the tax commissioner didn't do that instead of leaving the burden on the sheriff's office.

Delinquent taxpayers will be charged up to $175 to pay the collection firm for their work so taxpayers who do pay their bills on time won't have to pick up the tab.

 

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