The bill is in the mail; delinquent taxpayers asked to pay now

Published 9:57 am Tuesday, July 19, 2016

GROVES — The burden of unpaid property taxes falls on more than just a property owner.

Roughly 98 percent of property owners in Jefferson County pay their taxes in a timely manner that ultimately have to pay up for the 2 percent who are delinquent.

Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector Allison Nathan Getz along with representatives of Linebarger Goggan Bair and Sampson LLP Attorneys at Law, met with members of Groves’ police and fire departments and its city manager as a call to taxpayers to pay their bills.

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“Today we are announcing that delinquent tax accounts are being turned over to the law firm of Linebarger Goggan Bair and Sampson LLP for collection,” Getz said. “These letters are part of our ongoing effort to collect taxes owed to the citizens of Jefferson County. The taxes are part of each citizen’s fair share in providing for schools, fire protection, police protection and all other governmental services we take for granted.”

Clayton Mayfield, a partner with the law firm, said letters have been mailed out and there will also be direct phone calls as well as TV and radio spots asking delinquent taxpayers to come forward and pay their fair share.

“Their failure to contact us will require us to file suits and/or take other types of legal actions to collect the outstanding taxes.”

Mayfield said they want to resolve the issue without legal action.

“Ninety-eight percent of Jefferson County property owners pay their taxes in a timely manner. We’re here because of the other two percent. The money has to come from somewhere.”

A total of 15,277 letters were mailed to delinquent taxpayers who have not yet been sued but who owe $36.9 million in taxes to local taxing entities. The letters, Getz said, provide a last opportunity for delinquent taxpayers to voluntarily come forward and prevent the imposition of additional costs of a lawsuit.

Senior citizens aged 65 and above and disabled persons may have other remedies available to secure homesteads against collections.

Groves City Manager D. Sosa said the nonpayment of property taxes affects each of the entities involved.

“It affects not only city services but the rates we charge,” Sosa said of property taxes.

Taxes are owed to the following taxing entities, Jefferson County, City of Beaumont, Beaumont Independent School District, City of Groves, Hamshire-Fannett Independent School District, City of Nederland, Nederland Independent School District, City of Port Arthur, Port Arthur Independent School District, Port Neches-Groves Independent School District Sabine Pass Independent School District and other taxing entities.

Taxpayers can contact the Jefferson County Tax Office at 1149 Pearl St., Beaumont, or by calling 835-8516 or Linebarger Goggan Blair and Sampson law firm at 1148 Park St., Beaumont or by calling 832-9483.