Tax payment deadline extended

Published 9:34 pm Friday, January 5, 2018

Local residents waiting until Friday’s (Jan. 5) deadline to pay their 2017 county property taxes and were unable to do so because of the snowstorm will be granted a brief extension.

County government offices in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton were closed on Thursday and Friday due to winter storm that dumped as much as 10 inches of snow in spots across the Roanoke-Chowan area.

Even those brave souls that attempted to venture out on the roads, if they wanted to make the trip to Windsor, Winton or Jackson to pay their taxes they found the doors locked at their respective county government offices. That led local officials to consider extending the property tax payment deadline beyond Friday.

Bertie County Manager Scott Sauer said the county’s Tax Collector Jodie Rhea has been in contact with the UNC School of Government, and the county’s board of commissioners will receive a resolution at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting requesting the commissioners to grant flexibility for two or three days regarding the institution of penalties and interest for late payment of property taxes, due to the snow emergency and delays anticipated due to postal delivery difficulties.

“Since the Governor has declared a state of emergency for counties in the northeastern portion of the state, and due to our county offices were shutdown on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. and all day Thursday and Friday, citizens have been denied access to the Tax Office,” Sauer said on Friday afternoon.

Sauer noted that the state’s general statutes do not specifically address this set of circumstances, but any action by the governing body to protect taxpayers from unnecessary penalties and expenses should be viewed favorably by any state authority or court.

“One of my last conversations with (Commission) Chairman (Ernestine) Bazemore this week ended with her guidance, “let’s do everything possible to protect our citizens during this snow storm,” and I believe that the Tax Administrator’s recommendation is in keeping with this effort given the severity of this weather event,” Sauer said.

Curtis Freeman, Chairman of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, said on Friday that the property tax payment deadline will be extended until at least Wednesday, Jan. 10.

“We may extend that even further, possibly until Friday of next week, but that will be determined on Monday,” Freeman stated.

“I’m all in favor of the extension,” he added. “Our tax office was closed for two days (Thursday and Friday) because of the weather and folks couldn’t make their payments, even if they tried to get to the (county) offices.”

Freeman said the tax office computers would need to be re-programed because of the payment extension

“Those computers are programmed to automatically add a late payment fee if the county tax bills were not paid by the deadline, which was 5 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 5),” he said. “With this extension, those computers will be to be re-programed.”

Northampton County Manager Kimberly Turner said for those citizens waiting until Friday’s deadline to pay their 2017 property taxes, special consideration may be given.

“Our local government offices, which includes our tax office, were closed on both Thursday and Friday due to the winter weather,” Turner noted. “Because of that fact, those taxpayers waiting until the final few days to pay their 2017 taxes were unable to do so. If they come in on Monday (Jan. 8) to pay, we will give them special consideration due to our offices being closed on Thursday and Friday.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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