By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County taxpayers will find a midsummer surprise in their mailboxes today — 2012 tax bills — payable this year.
A little over 28,000 bills were taken to the local post office on Friday, according to Treasurer Dan Knox.
First installment payments are due on Aug. 21; the second installment is due on Oct. 21.
“We were able to get the tax bills out at the right point in the year to allow 60 days in between each installment,” Knox said. “That’s very good. There’s been a lot of people ask for that. I know that in our economy it is helpful, especially the elderly people depending on Social Security.”
Knox indicated taxpayers who have multiple properties may get more than one mailing.
“We grouped the bills last year, and we continued with that, but we are doing some experimenting with that to find the most economical way to send out the tax bills,” Knox said. “Last year, some people might have gotten one large white envelope containing several bills. This year some of those people may receive two regular sized envelopes and have six bills in them each. We’re still trying to see if that will save us money in postage.”
The total tax extension is a little over $35 million, which is an increase of about $1 million from last year.
Last year, several taxpayers living in Mt. Vernon Township High School District 201 were shocked when their tax bills increased significantly — related to the new high school project. Knox said he has no control over the levies established by the taxing districts.
“That school board and the superintendent are the group of people who set the levies, therefore, dictate what the amount of taxes will be for the MVTHS district,” Knox said. Questions about the MVTHS tax levy should be directed to Superintendent Mike Smith at 246-5908.
For the first time ever, taxes can be paid through the county’s web site, www.jefffersoncountyillinois.com by debit card, credit card or e-check. Payments can also be made at all Jefferson County banks, including Bank of America, which was recently sold to First Financial. Knox stressed that you do not have to have an account or do business with respective banks in order to make tax payments.
Taxpayers with questions about change of address, exemptions or assessments should be directed to the assessor’s office at 244-8016, Ext. 7; and questions about paying tax bills, and/or due dates may be directed to the treasurer’s office at 244-8010, Ext. 8.
The treasurer’s office is required to release money to the taxing districts within 30 days after the respective due dates — placing the distribution dates on or before Sept. 21 and Nov. 21.