Notices were sent to 27,000 property owners this week notifying them of owed property taxes. While the important parts of the notice are correct, Tallapoosa County revenue commissioner Eva Middlebrooks said about 75% of the notices include information that is confusing and incorrect.

“The notices that have confusing information include parcel numbers the property owners on the notice do not own,” Middlebrooks said. “The other information like property owner and amount owed is correct.”

Middlebrooks said her office started to receive calls as soon as the notices started to hit mailboxes. To help with the issue, property owners can call her office or check online for property taxes.

Middlebrooks said the mistake did not originate in her office but with a third party the Tallapoosa County revenue commissioner’s office uses for courtesy notices. 

“We looked at a sample before they printed them,” Middlebrooks said. “We spot checked and everything was fine.”

Middlebrooks said on property tax accounts with only one parcel, the printer printed additional parcel numbers to fill out space on the card and the vendor is working to correct the issue.

“They are doing everything they can to make it right,” Middlebrooks said. “They will be mailing out new notices.”

Middlebrooks said the only mistake on notices related to amount of property tax paid is for property owners in Jacksons Gap.

“The new tax is not on the notices for Jacksons Gap,” Middlebrooks said. 

The tax was passed by the Jacksons Gap Town Council and the revenue commissioner’s office is tasked with collecting it.

Middlebrooks said in August the commissioner’s office would start collecting a 5-mil ad valorem tax for Jacksons Gap.

The Tallapoosa County Probate Judge’s office is using the same service to mail out notice automobile tags.

Middlebrooks said her office will collect more in property than it has in years prior.

“The county is expected to take in an increase of $1,220,025 over 2018,” Middlebrooks said. “It will be higher than that as SL Alabama just completed its audit and it will be added before Oct. 1.”

Middlebrooks said there are 217 new parcels, one new commercial property and 131 new homes on the tax roll. Home construction especially on the waterfront of Lake Martin led to the increase, she said

“The new home construction appraised at more than $35 million,” Middlebrooks said. “This counts parcels and construction between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018. It also counts the Dollar General on County Road 34.”

Middlebrooks puts the total assessed value of property in Tallapoosa County at $872,702,460 with a net ad valorem tax to be collected by the revenue commissioner’s office at $24,278,615.17.

Middlebrooks also attributes a large portion of the increase in ad valorem collection to the recent pipeline project.

“Sabal Trail had an increase of about $400,000,” Middlebrooks said. “Because they are a public utility, part of their taxes are based on income.”

The revenue commissioner’s office collects property taxes for more than just the county.

“We collect for the state, the school and municipalities in Tallapoosa County,” Middlebrooks said. 

Middlebrooks said her office will also collect $4.5 million for the state, $6.14 million for the county, $11.16 million for Alexander City, Tallapoosa County and Tallassee schools and $1.6 million for the municipalities in Tallapoosa County.

“The county will see an increase of about $331,000,” Middlebrooks said.

Property owners have until the end of the year to pay property taxes before a penalty kicks in.

“Ad valorem taxes can be paid without penalty until Dec. 31,” Middlebrooks said. “After that there is a $5 late fee plus 12% per year interest.”

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.