On Monday night, the Grayville City Council joined the parade of local governments wondering where their White County tax money has gone.
Finance commissioner David Jordan had good news and bad news, as the council voted on a revised budget for the city. The good news is the revised budget shows the city has spent only about 74 percent of the $3,705,845 budget originally proposed. The revised budget for the fiscal year ending May 1, 2021is $2,749,835.91. Jordan explained that the lower spending in city accounts could be traced to COVID restrictions over the past year. That’s the good news. The bad news, according to Jordan is the city has no idea where the revenue side is going to be. “The tax revenue has just not come in to cover the budget,” he’s said.
According to Grayville City Clerk JoEllen Seil, the city levied $181,135.48 from White County. So far Grayville has only received $40,230.93, leaving the remaining funds in limbo and city fathers wringing their hands.
White County Treasurer Pam Armstrong explained the hold up Tuesday morning.
“We received $6 million in prepayments, and many of those tax bills were overpaid,” Armstrong said. “My priority is to reconcile those overpayments and issue refunds as soon as possible. If not, some of those parcels could inadvertently wind up on the delinquent tax list.”
There were 2,155 prepayment refund checks to be issued for a total of about $105,000 in refunds.
Armstrong added that she encouraged prepayments in the first place so property owners could claim those payments on their 2019 taxes. However, she did not anticipate how difficult it would be to calculate over-payments and issue refunds. “Each one of these has to be done individually,” Armstrong said. “There's not a simple program to do that. That's why I've brought in extra help and have been working seven days a week since January to get this done.”
Armstrong said she started sending disbursements to taxing bodies by the end of February, based on the $6 million in prepayments. Now that the second installment deadline has passed, Armstrong says she expects final disbursements will be made in the coming weeks, but not before the issue with prepayment refunds is resolved.
For the rest of the story, check out this week's Navigator.