Columbia tax receipts

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, January 16, 2018

As the property tax penalty deadline loomed Rhett White, Columbia’s town manager, on January 2 reported lower receipts than in previous years.

Property owners inside the town had paid $194,543 by January 2, 68.57% of the $306,440 the board of aldermen levied last June.

However, a year earlier collections stood at 71.4% of levy, and they were at 72.4% at the same time in 2016.

The tax rate went up, from 45.6 cents per $100 valuation to 60.1 cents, with the current budget because the town’s taxable value fell from $56.6 million to $42.97 million in the recent state-mandated revaluation.

The new rate ($0.601), assuming a continued collection ratio of 94%, was designed to bring about the same dollars in current-year tax as in the year before — $242,732. The additional revenue to equal $306,440 stated above is anticipated from prior year taxes and penalties.

The 94% collection ratio means that Columbia’s leaders expect 94% of the money to come in before the fiscal year ends next June 30 and 6% to be carried over to next year’s budget as delinquent tax. Under state law, the board of aldermen cannot anticipate receiving a higher percentage than was actually collected in the previous year.

Unpaid property taxes become delinquent and begin to accrue interest on January 6 of the fiscal year in which they are levied.  Interest accrues at 2% for the first month (or part thereof) and .75% for every month (or part thereof) after until paid.