Garrard tax bills to be sent Oct. 15

September 23, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - About the middle of October, property owners in Garrard County should receive bills stating how much property tax they owe for this year. And everybody will be paying slightly more, regardless of whether their property was reassessed.

That's because the Garrard County Board of Education passed a nickel tax hike this year for the school tax portion of the bill.

A person who owns a house worth $100,000 will pay $50 more than they did last year.

Property Valuation Administrator Marsha McQueary said Lancaster and a part of northern Garrard County were reassessed this year.

Taxpayers should have received a notice last spring if their property value changed, she said.

"By law, we must notify every taxpayer," she said.

McQueary said that each section of the county is reassessed every four years.

"We drive every subdivision and every road. We physically stop and take a picture of the property."


She and her staff then look into what surrounding property is selling for and determine whether an increase or decrease in the property's value is needed.

Normally tax bills are sent out about the first of October, but the county government portion of the tax bill cannot be finally approved until a public hearing is held at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the courthouse.

The county's rate has been tentatively set at 7.9 cents per $100 of assessed property.

The rate last year was 8 cents, and the Fiscal Court lowered the rate to be in line with the compensating rate.

House Bill 44 states that no taxing district can collect more than 4 percent revenue over what they collected the previous year.

Had the court kept the rate at 8 cents, growth in the county would have put the county over the 4 percent, and the tax would have been subject to voter recall.

The 7.9 cents rate means that if the taxpayer owns a home worth $100,000, the county portion of their bill will be $79.

County tax bills must be paid to the Garrard County sheriff.

If bills are paid by Nov. 15, property owners will receive a 2 percent discount. Bills not paid by Jan. 1 will be subject to a 5 percent penalty.

Meantime, the city of Lancaster will send out its tax bills Sept. 30.

The city's rate is 15 cents per $100 of assessed property, meaning that for a $100,000 home, the bill will be $150.

Taxpayers will receive a 2 percent discount if they pay by Oct. 31, but will face a 2 percent penalty if the bill is not paid by Jan. 1.

Bills not paid by Feb. 1 will be assessed a 10 percent penalty.

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