Letters to the editor for December 21, 2012

By Observer Upload December 21, 2012 01:11 pm

Taxpayer raises awareness to fees

To the Editor:

Have you examined your property tax statement lately? You should take a moment to review all of the separate entities that are billed on your Union County tax statement. 

The Blue Mountain Translator District adds their annual fee of $100 to your tax bill. 

The practice of counties including separate entity’s fees on your tax statement is lawful. 

However, the Blue Mountain Translator District is required by law to mail you a notice prior to billing you. 

This notice offers you the option of opting out of their service by returning the notice to them with your signature confirming that you will not use their service. 

The real problem with this method of billing lies with the translator district, which is operated by a volunteer board of directors. They currently do not have a store front office where you, the taxpayer, can contact them to discuss a billing or service issue. 

They do have an answering service that is willing to take a message that the board may or may not return. 

My personal experience was a total lack of response until I was able to locate personal cell phone numbers for two of the board members. I was invited to a board meeting where I could dispute the $100 fees charged to my taxes in 2011 and 2012. 

Attending the meeting is the only way that you can dispute the error. They did agree to refund the fees because they had been sending the annual notices to an old address and not the one on file at the county, therefore not fulfilling their obligation to give prior notice. 

The point to my letter is to encourage all taxpayers to carefully examine their tax statements and to persuade the Blue Mountain Translator District to develop a practice of excellent customer service by returning phone messages left with their service. 

Jeff Bonney

Summerville