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Grayson okays twice-a-year taxing

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County residents can prepare to pay half their real estate taxes in October starting this year, as the board of supervisors approved the switch to semi-annual tax collection during a meeting June 11.

No comments were heard during the public hearing on the change, which will split residents' real estate taxes into two equal payments.

The first payment will be due Oct. 5, with the second half — as well as personal property taxes — due on April 5.

While residents can choose to pay the full amount in October, they cannot wait until April to pay the full amount, unless they want to pay late fees and interest.

The penalty for late payment will be the same as now — 5 percent of the tax past due on the property, not exceeding the total amount of taxes due.

In addition, an interest charge of 10 percent per year will also be added to the total amount.

The change was first proposed earlier this year to combat two problems — move the due date away from the Christmas holiday and provide more cash flow in the early months of the fiscal year.

Last fall, supervisors were forced to borrow $1.6 million to cover their bills prior to the time when the annual tax collections began to trickle in.

The move cost the county a few thousand dollars in interest, and was deemed an unwise use of taxpayers' money.

With half the real estate taxes due in October, supervisors hope it solves the early cash flow problems.

In other business, the board also approved a change to the courthouse maintenance fee ordinance, instituting a $2 fee on all traffic, criminal and civil cases in either general district or circuit courts.

The fee collected by the clerk's office will go toward construction, renovation and/or maintenance of the courthouse, jail or court-related facilities.

Both ordinances take effect July 1.