Revenue short from taxes on property
Split shifts among county staff could be the cause, treasurer-tax collector says
Humboldt County has received 7% less in property tax revenue than it did a year ago this week, though officials say there are factors at hand other than the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
The county has collected $48.2 million so far in annual tax revenue. As of April 6, 2019, the number was $51.9 million. Annual installments of property taxes are due April 10.
The county’s treasurer-tax collector said Tuesday the office is completing a late fee waiver form for people who have been economically impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting shelter-in-place order.
“That’s not only the COVID-19 (outbreak) but it could be because we are doing our payment processing in shifts so we don’t have all personnel here all the time,” said treasurer tax collector John Bartholomew.
That way, Bartholomew explained, the office won’t be at risk of a small-scale virus outbreak that could put all of his staff out of commission.
The county’s board of supervisors on Monday authorized Bartholomew to complete the form so that people affected by the shelter-in-place order will get more time to pay their property taxes.
Much of the revenue goes to the county’s special districts, including local utilities like the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.
The county operates on a “teeter” program, which means it owes a set amount of money to those special districts each year, regardless of whether enough people have paid property taxes.
But as of Tuesday, the county remains well short of what it owes in teeter payments — $60 million.
“The hope is that we collect the rest by (April 10),” Paz Dominguez wrote in an email.
“If not, then the County has to front the bill for the difference. The Tax Collector is processing payments every day and he has at least 3 mail trays full of mailed payments to go through. The odds look good, not grim at this point.”
Not all special districts are worried about the late payments — the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District will continue to operate as normal, general manager John Friedenbach said Tues