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Vehicle registration, property taxes and the tax assessor-collector

Oped by Commissioner Cook

  • 21 February 2019
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1405
  • 0 Comments

There are approximately 235,000 property tax accounts that include homes, vacant land and businesses within the county. A large portion of these accounts are handled through mortgage companies, easing the strain at the lobbies and on wait times.

To save time, residents are encouraged to use alternate services to pay property taxes or auto registration renewals. These include setting an appointment online before going to a tax office, mailing or paying online or visiting any H-E-B stores or AAA locations within the county.

The county tax office website, wilco.org/taxoffice, allows you to make appointments and pay online. It has a “How are we doing?” link where you can rate the level of proficiency, customer service, overall experience and a section where you can leave comments.

Forms with the same questions are available at every clerk’s counter.

Last year the tax office collected approximately $2 billion on behalf of more than 100 taxing jurisdictions in Williamson County. The money is almost immediately dispersed back to the entities it collects for.

All taxing jurisdictions in Williamson County contract with the tax office for collections. There are many types of taxing jurisdictions, including the county, cities, emergency services, schools and utility and water control districts.

Extensive training is required for tax office employees to ensure they accurately handle complex transactions, communications and funds.

The staff must be able to follow property tax code, property tax law, state traffic law and the state Local Government Code.

The majority of tax office staff is required to achieve certified tax office professional status by completing as many as 30 courses to obtain the required DMV certification. This also requires 10 hours of annual continuing education.

Several staff members are professional county collectors, which requires additional training to handle more complex property tax matters.

As the first in the state to offer online appointments and kiosks for customer sign-ins, our tax office last year served approximately

300,000 people at its four locations, with the Georgetown location being the busiest. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day in 2018, the Georgetown location served 1,000 people a day. And I can almost guarantee they all got professional and courteous service!

According to Gaddes, the busiest times are right after any holiday and especially the six weeks leading to Feb. 1, when unpaid property taxes become delinquent.

By Feb. l of each year, any unpaid portion of a property tax will accrue a 7 percent penalty and interest, which increases monthly.

In many cases, residential homestead property owners may enter a payment plan agreement for delinquent taxes. If a property owner fails to pay the taxes owed and is not on an agreement plan, the county’s contracted law firm can proceed with foreclosure of the property.

On the first Tuesday of every month, Williamson County sponsors a public foreclosure auction of foreclosed properties at the Justice Center in Georgetown.

As for our tax assessor, Gaddes is one of only nine tax assessor collectors in Texas who has a certified tax administrator certificate.

He is also a professional county assessor collector and has completed two months of training in collections and appraisal.

He recently received a scholarship and invitation to the Texas Association of Counties Leadership Development Program for county officials. Every year the association chooses 24 county officials from throughout the state to participate in the 14-month program, and Gaddes was one of the two assessor-collectors chosen.

“I’m honored to be part of a select group of folks,” Gaddes said. “I’m honored to participate in this leadership program, and I hope to become a better servant for the citizens of Williamson County when I’m done with it.”

And I’m honored to know our Williamson County Tax office is under such strong and professional leadership.


 

 

 

 

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