Letters to the Editor

Taxes: County errs, landowner pays

A short while back, I wrote to the editor in regard to receiving a reevaluated property tax statement from Island County, in which they claimed we owed several hundred dollars more in 2004 property tax.

In short, in 2004, we paid what we were billed for in full and on time. Many months after the second 2004 installment was due and paid by us, Island County sends us an “oops, you owe more than we figured you did” statement. The explanation for this was that they are months behind and also that they send their bills out without waiting for all departments to finish their calculations. Sounds just like the government, no?

Today, we received our property tax statement for 2005. It just boggles the mind, but the treasurer’s office has had the audacity to charge us over $300 in penalties and interest on the amount they are just now saying we still owe for last year. This fine is based in the full amount of 2004 tax, not just what they say we now owe. How can they fine us in full on an amount that is already paid? Island County themselves were delinquent in finishing their calculations and sending out additional statements by over four months, and they think they can penalize us for their delinquency? Are they out of their minds? They make the mistake, and we get to pay the fine? How could we be delinquent in paying when they just sent us this figure a few weeks ago, and the payment isn’t even due until mid-March? Could this have happened because no one there tells everyone what anyone is doing?

I have written Linda E. Riffe, our county treasurer, and have demanded a new statement that does not reflect any penalty or interest for what was clearly their delinquency to began with. That is just the beginning of how we plan to handle this matter.

We have been homeowners for over 20 years. We have lived in many places. Never have we neglected to pay our property tax in full and in a judicious manner. And never have we seen this king of monkey business in any local or state government office we’ve dealt with in the past. We seriously have to question the integrity and accuracy of Island County Treasure’s Office, including any and all departments connected with it. I know this can’t only be happening to us. I advise all readers who are dealing with the same property tax situation to take issue with it. Speak up, stand up and let the county know this nonsense is unacceptable.

Luanne Raavel

Coupeville

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