Recently, a number of complaints have circulated on social media from people in the area regarding their property tax rates being raised, something Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones said is “absolutely false”.
Prior to jumping into the agenda during Tuesday’s special called meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, Jones addressed some recent complaints regarding some residents in the county taking to social media to allege their property tax rates have been raised. However, Jones said those complaints are “absolutely false,” as the fiscal court elected to not raise any tax rates for this fiscal year.
“This fiscal court did not raise property taxes,” Jones said. “Neither the city schools nor the county schools raised the rate. The health department didn’t raise the rate and the library district didn’t raise the rate.”
Jones said that if people in the county are seeing a increase in their tax bill, it is mostly likely because of a delinquent garbage bill.
According to Jones, the Pike County Solid Waste Department has been putting delinquent solid waste bills on the property taxes. However, because of understaffing in the department, officials were never able to get through the entire alphabetical list of the delinquent solid waste bills.
“This is the first year that we put every delinquent solid waste bill on the property tax tickets,” Jones said. “More than $2.2 million worth. Some of those will be for people who are deceased. Some of those will be for people who may have sold the property and that may not be an accurate number, but it’s what the records indicate.”
According to Jones, getting through the entire alphabetical list of delinquent solid waste bills was a directive the solid waste office gave the court when it first came into office.
“Those were our instructions, because it’s not fair that some people have to pay and some people don’t,” Jones said. “But if you see someone on Facebook or social media saying that their property taxes went up, that’s not true.
“Nobody wants to pay property taxes, nobody likes to pay taxes, but it is the price of living in a democracy,” he added.
Jones said that he received his property taxes this week and just, as others, he “didn’t like them either,” but the county has people who need the services from county government. Jones added that those property taxes “go a long way” in helping the county provide those services.
Recently, Jones said a resident of the county reached out to him regarding their garbage not getting picked and upon some research it was discovered the resident had a delinquent solid waste bill of more than $1,000, which they were aware of, but still expected their garbage to get picked up. After some thought, Jones said that comment irritated him more and more.
“If you don’t pay your water bill, we know what happens. If you don’t pay your power bill, your T.V. bill, we know what happens. But, there is an expectation by a small number of people that if they don’t pay their solid waste bills, then the county can just keep picking the trash up,” Jones said. “If people don’t pay their solid waste bills then we can not continue to operate solid waste.”
Jones said the court elected to raise the solid waste rates because “ we had no other choice,” and in order for the court to make sure solid waste is sustainable in the long-term, it has to “absolutely” collect everything that is due.
According to Jones, if anyone in the county believes there is a mistake, then they can call the solid waste department at, (606) 432-6245.