SIKESTON - Second chances are nice when they come along.
Sikeston city officials are mailing a second personal property tax notice to residents Friday for the first time.
Personal property tax for 2003 was due Dec. 31, 2003. "If they have a outstanding 2003 bill, they will get a statement," said Vicky Jordan, city collector.
There are approximately 900 delinquent real estate tax bills and 4,700 delinquent personal property tax bills, each of which may include more than one year of delinquent taxes.
Carroll Couch, city clerk, said the staff presented the Council with the idea for a second property tax notice last fall.
"This will give them a second opportunity to pay before we publish their names in the paper like last year," he said.
City officials intend to publish the list of those with outstanding city tax bills in July or August, a tactic that has worked well over the last few years.
"A lot of people don't want their name in the paper so I think it's been helpful," said Jordan. "But there's still too many on there."
Sikeston sends out its regular property tax statements in mid-November, when holidays tend to overwhelm people.
"By sending them out now when it's not so hectic, we're trying to cut down on the confusion and get their attention," said Couch. "A lot of confusion exists. A lot of people think because they paid at the county they don't have to pay at the city."
Residents within Sikeston's city limits, however, have personal property tax to pay to both governments.
Others, Couch said, may have moved from a place like Cape Girardeau in which the county collects for the city as well. "Here, neither New Madrid nor Scott County collects for us, so we collect for ourselves," he said.
Delinquent real estate tax on the books is approximately $84,000 without penalties, and the delinquent personal property tax total is about $130,000 not including the city's vehicle fee or penalties.
The statements residents receive, however, will include fees and penalties.
"The largest bill is $3,468.66 and the lowest is 71 cents," said Couch. "This may include multiple years due."
Jordan said delinquent real estate bills may be up to five years old. Real estate with outstanding taxes three years old is subject to seizure and sale to the highest bidder, but the owner may redeem property through the city if there is redemption period. Sales of property purchased at a fourth offering are final, however.
Couch said the amount owed to Sikeston is typical for a town this size. "This has been an ongoing problem for most municipalities," he said.
Delinquent personal property, that isn't land, is more of a problem for the city "because we can sell the real estate," said Jordan, and unlike the county, the city does not have an extra motivator for personal property. She explained that the vehicle license bureau doesn't check for a personal property tax receipt from the city before issuing vehicle registration, but just checks to see if county taxes are paid.
Couch said if there is a problem with the amount the property is valued at, residents should contact the assessor for the county they live in as the city uses county assessments multiplied by city's tax rate.
Citizens who have not received a tax bill for 2003 personal property taxes need to call the Scott County assessor's office at 545-3535 or the New Madrid County assessor's office at 748-5441 depending on where in Sikeston they lived on Jan. 1, 2003.
For additional information, call the city collector at 471-2193.