The Douglas County treasurer is about to mail 47,031 bills to collect $145,060,636.57 in taxes for the coming year.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
“I know that’s wonderful news,” said Paula Gilchrist, sympathetic yet sarcastic in her seventh year of assessing taxes. “And then having to pay off the bill right before Christmas? This was not our choice. We did not choose these dates. No tax collector ever would.”
The bills — all 38,430 for real estate, plus another 7,500 for personal property, 646 for large trucks and 455 for state-assessed utilities and other properties — are set to go out Monday or Tuesday. That’s at least a week later than usual, as the county works through glitches with a computer system installed last year.
More than 15,000 of the bills will be sent to banks and large mortgage companies electronically, so that escrow charges can be adjusted for mortgages.
The rest will go out in the mail, destined to arrive in mailboxes throughout the county either just before Thanksgiving or on Friday, considered the biggest shopping day of the year.
“It’s nobody’s fault,” Gilchrist said of the unfortunate timing. “Most homeowners anticipate this.”
All of the bills come due Dec. 20, so governments large and small can pay for their public-service operations for the new year.
Douglas County, several municipalities and various school board, townships, cemeteries, libraries and other institutions anticipate receiving their shares of the revenue Jan. 20, a month after Gilchrist and her staff are to have the money in the county’s checking account.
Back in the days before the Great Recession, the county would earn interest of 3 percent to 5 percent on such revenue, providing a welcome bump for various governments.
This time, Gilchrist figures the county will bank about $6,600 in interest on the more than $100 million it plans to collect for distribution.
Gilchrist, who lives near Prairie Park School in southeastern Lawrence, said that her home’s value held steady during the past year. The combined tax rate for the property increased by 1.4 percent.
“Be thankful for all those county services — school, libraries, all the things it goes for,” she said. “Fire departments, police protection. It does good things.”