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As the end of the year fast approaches, Grady County Tax Commissioner Barbara Darus reports that she and her office have already collected over 75 percent of the property taxes due for 2020.
Monday, Dec. 21 was the last day to pay ad valorem taxes without interest and penalty being added to the bill, according to Darus.
As of the close of business Tuesday, Darus reports that she has collected $14,022,463.28 of the $18,521,280.71 2020 ad valorem taxes, which equals 75.7 percent. The remaining 24.3 percent or $4,498,817.43 is now the focus of the tax commissioner and her staff.
A total of 65 local taxpayers have entered into payment plans with Darus to split up the payment of their taxes, but the tax commissioner says that even those on payment plans are required to pay interest and penalties.
“My office cannot adjust penalties and interest. Only the county commission hold that power,” Darus said.
She added, “I am very grateful that the county commissioners allow me to work with taxpayers and allow them to make payments.”
The tax commissioner admits that 2020 has been a difficult year, but she says the loss of the late Susan Bennett, the county’s chief appraiser, was a “bigger blow than the virus.”
Of the funds collected to date, Darus has already disbursed $7,263,531.92 to the county; $3,959,572.39 to the Grady County Board of Education; $756,201.63 to the City of Cairo and $19,682.65 to the City of Whigham.
“I ran out of time today, but I’m hoping to get the school board, Cairo and Whigham a check tomorrow (Wednesday, Dec. 23),” Tax Commissioner Darus said.
Darus will be mailing out notices of unpaid 2020 taxes and said she would not be surprised if more taxpayers request a payment plan for their taxes.
“We are here to help folks as best we can. These have been challenging times for everyone,” she said.