Interest And Fees Being Charged Now?

No one disputes that there were mistakes made in the way that property taxes have been calculated for Bourbon County. However, any reasonable person realizes that there are going to be at least some mistakes made in this line of work no matter how careful you are.

The big question is whether the process has been fixed.  So lets take a look at an example of delinquent property that is showing it was brought current on 10/7/2010 a few weeks ago. Below is a screenshot from the tax search that raises some questions. This is for 2010 taxes. So $673.37 was due in December 20th of 2010 and the remaining $673.37 was due in May 10th, 2011. The tax rate should have been 7%, plus a $15 publication fee if the property were published in the paper.

The property is crossed out of the list that was originally sent to the paper. It is  part of the addendum to the list (see the last page of the PDF), but the amount listed as owed is off by $1,000. So it was probably printed in the paper with the rest of the property that was left of because it was part of the payment plan. However, it was not in the payment plan contracts we received.


There was a payment of $1,346.74 toward the tax and $7.05 toward the interest and fees on 10/7/2011. The website is showing that the amount has been paid and that there is no longer an amount due.  But the publication fee alone should have been $15.

For a rough idea of the interest that should have been charged, if we calculate 7% on the first half for January through September (10 months), it comes to $39.28 (673.37 * .07 / 12 * 10). If we calculate interest on the second portion from June through September (four months), it comes to $15.71 (673.37 * .07 / 12 * 4). That leaves off about 18 days of interest on the first payment and around 27 on the second payment. So the actual interest should be a bit higher if you calculate to the day instead of only including full months as I have done.

Still the total comes to $69.99 when you include the publication fee.  So why is it only showing $7.05?  One possibility is that payments were being made into an escrow account on the old system and the interest rate was based on the fact that a good portion of the principle was already paid. However, to only be charged $7.05 the interest would be for less than two full months on the December 20th half of the payment. In other word’s the property owner would have needed to pay almost all of the tax due except for a very small portion.

It is interesting to note that the list of delinquent taxes where this property was crossed off has the interest listed as $39 (the cents are obscured by a marker).

If the tax payer had done this, I would expect to see the December 20th half listed as paid as soon as the escrow account had enough money to pay it and given the very small amount of interest, this couldn’t have occurred any later than March. Perhaps the escrow accounts are setup to only bring the amount over, once the full tax has been paid. Even then the publication fee was not charged.

It is possible that the interest was calculated correctly and the publication fee was inadvertently omitted. The biggest problem here is that that process is not transparent and if you look at what is actually published on the website it looks like something is being done incorrectly. If the new system was being used to accept all the payments, it would be trivial for anyone to look and see exactly how the interest and fees had been calculated and how payments had been applied.

11 thoughts on “Interest And Fees Being Charged Now?”

  1. Obviously, they have been aware of this problem with the interest yet, I have seen no discussion of it until just lately. I would have thought this would have been brought to the attention of the County Commissioners and County Attorney because of the “discrepancies” and the possible fallout from such. How do you sort out the difference between what has been illegally “forgiven” by the County Treasurer and what percentage the computer program may have miscalculated?

  2. “It is possible that the interest was calculated correctly and the publication fee was inadvertently omitted.” When this is entered to actually pay the tax on the tax payment screen the only way for the interest or penalty to be changed or removed is a manual override or to back date the payment calendar date. Until this is done the correct amount of interest and penalties are calculated correctly. As for the money already paid into the payment pool (plan), that is just a place to hold money and the taxpayer is told that the taxes continue to accrue interest. The software on the old system and new system payment screen calculated the correct amounts of interest and penalties. At least for the 8 years I worked in the office this was the way it worked.

    1. Susan, are you saying that if a person came in and paid ahead on their taxes and the money went into this account and was held until they had enough to pay all their taxes, that they would not be charged the full amount of interest and publication fees the day it was paid. I can’t see that this would be right, even tho they paid ahead, we are not getting interest on that money that the county is holding, so why would we give them reduced interest fees? I am referring to the taxes above that Mark posted. They were not paid until 10-07-2011. So how could this be right? I understood Susan Quick to say that this account drew no interest.

      1. As they pay off the amount, the amount gets smaller so the interest is less than it would be if they were to just keep all the money in their savings account and pay it off all at once. Every dollar someone pays against the amount owed in January is a dollar that doesn’t occur interest in February.

        Much of the problem is how the amounts gets moved back and forth between systems. If it was all handled by the system that is currently online, then it would much much more clear if the interest rates were appropriate or not.

        1. This money still is not applied to their taxes until they get the full amount. I could put it in a jar at home and do the same thing, but when I brought it in and paid them, I would have to pay the full interest. It doesn’t draw interest in the account, so I just can’t see why if it isn’t paid until Oct. it should have the full interest applied. The county doesn’t get to use this money until it is paid, correct.

          1. When I heard the word, “escrow” it did not make sense. If we are simply holding their money for their convenience (playing the banker) then the full amount of interest on the entire tax bill should be paid unless the entire amount is paid off early. Some of those payments would be sitting in an escrow account for 3 plus years while the commission continues to raise the mil levy.

  3. Mark: I was at the County website and they have a listing of 2010 delinquent taxes, I am guessing you were looking at that when you were talking about the crossed off stuff. I think you may have reversed a couple numbers $673.37 is what I think you met? Well, on the listing on the website, it looks like maybe everyone was to pay $20.00 and I’m thinking publication fee? Also, it did look like interest was figured to be $39.89 (?) with a total of $1388.13 per the total on the website. Since this was there in black and white (mostly black with all the markings), nothing appears to have been left off. Is this what you talking about? In order to get her name removed, she would have paid the $1388.13 which was listed there, right? I don’t know if the interest was computed correctly but if I were to bet……….

    1. The publication I was referring to is the one we posted here. I believe it is also available from the county website.

      You are right, I did transpose two numbers and I believe I have corrected it and the calculations.

  4. Oops, upon looking, there are no fees being charged and that is just a date 2010. It is rather a mess to look at though. So, where are the fees? The statute requires a publication fee and Susan Quick said that she would be charging one at one of the meetings that I attended. Guess she changed her mind?

  5. Mark: Since she has no contract on file that we know of, wouldn’t she be making partial payments but, of course, that doesn’t agree with her name not being published as part of the “we don’t publish them anymore since the year my name would have been in there” group. I backtracked the address on the county website to get the name. She is listed in the addendum under Fern Wratchford and a balance of $386.74 (addendum in Sep. 8 edition). Since we don’t have a contract, this one would be impossible to figure out, wouldn’t it? We have no idea how much she started out owing on the contract, full amount or not or when the contract was (if it was) established.

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