CLAYTON — City council authorized at its August 7 meeting assessments on properties for delinquent payments owed to the city for various services.
Council authorized sending assessments against the North Clayton Community Authority to the county auditor for placement on the property tax bill.
“We are charged with billing for these assessments the homeowners have,” said Finance Director Kevin Schweitzer. “Currently we have $10,221 worth of assessments to put on tax accounts. Seventy percent of these are from the one developer that owns the majority of the land out there. They have not paid their assessments for the last couple of years.”
Council authorized charges to be sent to the county auditor for unpaid weed cutting for collection with property owners’ real estate taxes.
These assessments are for cutting the lots of homes where properties are not being maintained in accordance with city regulations, according to Schweitzer.
“We charge them a higher rate to try and remind them that it is not our business to cut their grass,” Schweitzer said. “This year’s assessment totals $22,020, which is down from last year when we had $36,500 so some people are getting the message.”
Vice Mayor Tim Gorman asked how many times property owners are billed before the assessments are put on their real estate taxes. Schweitzer said property owners are billed one time and are given several months to pay before it is placed on their real estate taxes. The city charges $320 to cut one acre or less and an additional $320 for the second one acre or less.
A third ordinance was also adopted to assess property owners for failure to pay trash collection bills.
“This is probably the biggest amount of money that we have to deal with that is delinquent, and its trash collection,” Schweitzer noted. “We will put anyone that is 90 days past due with a balance of $100 on this assessment list. The majority of our residents are paying $36 to $43 per quarter for trash collection, so for them to get on this list they have to be three to four quarters behind in paying. The total amount for this list is $48,775 worth of assessments, which is lower than last year when we had $64,676. But of the accounts that are past due 90 days and less than $100 we have $104,033 that is currently delinquent, so we still have a big problem with people paying their quarterly trash bill.”
The trash hauler has been paid for collecting the trash, now the city must try to collect from delinquent property owners to recoup funds paid to the trash hauler.
If residents pay their property tax bill next year the city must wait a year to receive those funds. Schweitzer said many of the property owners that are not paying for their trash collection have not paid in years and when contacted about being delinquent, most do not respond.
Council also approved street light assessments for the coming year for those areas of the city that are equipped with street lights. Each district is different and property owners are charged for the type of light used in that area. Fees range from $29 per year, per property or higher depending on whether or not an area is equipped with more expensive decorative lighting.