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City plans to publish list of delinquent taxes

Sunday, July 7, 2002

SIKESTON - City officials are making a list and checking it twice - and then it will be published in the newspaper.

"A lot of people are delinquent on their city personal property tax," said Carroll Couch, city clerk.

City Manager Doug Friend advised Sikeston residents to partake in "a little reflection" on the last time they visited city hall.

With the implementation of wards, city staff anticipate seeing people run for office who may not have considered it in the past. In addition to being unable to get a city business license and being ineligible for appointment on city boards or city employment, those with delinquent city taxes are not permitted to run for city office.

"We want to avoid embarrassing anyone," said Friend. "We're just trying to get the word out before we publish the list. We wanted to give folks an opportunity to verify if they're on it or not."

As city officials are planning on publishing the list of those with outstanding city personal property taxes in early August, the deadline to make sure your name does not appear on list when it is printed is July 31.

"We've done away with the city stickers, but not the vehicle registration fee or the city's personal property tax," said Couch.

Vicky Jordan, city collector, said the city's registration fee - $2.50 for non-commercial vehicles and $3.50 for commercial - is still required for any vehicle residents use on public streets and is now included on residents' personal property tax bill.

"We did away with the actual physical sticker," said Couch, "because people found that to be a nuisance."

Personal property includes "anything that has a motor," said Jordan. Boats, motorcycles and four-wheel ATVs are typical personal property items in addition to cars and trucks.

The amount due for the city's personal property tax is based on the county's assessed valuation of a resident's property. "The county does the assessing - we don't," said Couch.

Couch said a lot of city residents say they have already paid their personal property taxes at the county courthouse. "I'm sure you did - but you also have to pay the city," said Couch.

"That's what happens - people forget," agreed Friend.

The list to be published will only include people who are delinquent on personal property tax and will not include those with outstanding real estate property tax.

Couch said the delinquent city personal property tax bills range from $2.67 to $542.31.

When it is all added up, however, the city's outstanding receivables for personal property tax is presently over $200,000 including interest and penalties, according to Jordan.

City council member Sue Rogers commented during a recent city briefing session that the problem of how to collect city personal property tax was among the chief topics at the conference for newly elected officials.

"A lot of cities are in the same predicament," said Couch. He said city staff have researched other Missouri municipalities to see how they deal with the problem.

"We found a couple in which the county collects for the city," said Couch. "We might be looking into that."

If somebody has moved from Sikeston or died, city officials need to know that as well so they can remove the name from their list. "A lot of this is 'clean-up,'" said Friend.