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The City of Oak Ridge announced today that all property and personal property tax bills have been mailed and should have been delivered to property owners for this year. Taxes go to support the operation of many City services, from street maintenance to the library. The Police and Fire Departments, refuse removal and disposal, recreation and parks, and many other City activities are all supported by the property tax. A portion of the tax also goes to support the Oak Ridge School system.
Many citizens pay their property taxes directly, while taxes for others are paid through an
escrow account associated with their mortgage. Both groups get a notice of tax due, however,
and it remains the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the taxes are paid.
A relatively small number of citizens will not receive a notice. There are several reasons that
this might happen. For example, property tax bills are mailed to addresses supplied by the state
of Tennessee for the owner of record as of January 1st; sometimes mailing addresses may
have changed or the property may have changed hands since that date. Other mail delivery
problems also occur.
Regardless of the ability of the business office to deliver the notice, the property owner still has
responsibility for making the payment in a timely manner. According to the City’s business
office manager Marlene Witt, Tennessee state law is very restrictive and there is little City staff
can do to help someone who did not receive a notice or who received it late. "We work
diligently to find the correct address of owners when the bills are returned to us, but frequently
penalties may accrue before we are able to deliver the notice," she said. "This is an unfortunate
situation, but our hands are tied by State law and there is little we can do other than try and offer
understanding for the situation."
If someone has not received a tax bill by now, they should contact the City's business office
immediately. The last day to make full tax payment without penalty is July 31. Penalties start to
accrue on August 1, 2012.
Further information is available through the City's website,
. The tax
specialist at the City can be reached at (865) 425-3404.