Property tax deadline trips up a few more elected officials
by staff reports
Jan 21, 2011 | 2790 views |  1 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Seven elected officials in Calhoun County still haven’t paid their property taxes for 2010, according to county records.

And the mayor of Jacksonville didn’t pay up until Thursday, when he saw a story about other tax-delinquent politicians in The Star.

Jacksonville Mayor Johnny Smith had one delinquent notice against him in the total of $49.53.

“I just got back from going to pay it,” Smith said, when a reporter called him about the $49.53 he owed on a small parcel behind his house.

The Star reported Thursday morning that two Anniston city councilmen, Ben Little and Herbert Palmore, still hadn’t paid their property tax bills. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, county tax officials said, those tax bills were still past due.

A deeper look into tax records revealed several other elected officials in surrounding cities who still owed taxes for 2010, including:

• Hobson City Town Councilman O’Mildred Ball

• Ohatchee Mayor Steve Baswell

• Weaver City Councilwoman Sheila Field.

• Hobson City Mayor Alberta McCrory

• Weaver City Councilman Mike Warren

Most, like Smith, attributed their delinquency to oversights or difficulties managing multiple properties. Smith says he got a delinquent tax notice last week for a 25-by-100-foot strip of property on Mountain Street, behind his Ashton Place house.

“I didn’t think too much about it. I knew I was going to be down there next week and I will take care of it. Then I saw the headline in The Anniston Star yesterday and I thought I should go ahead and pay it,” said Smith.

Taxes for his place of residence on Ashton Place were paid last November.

Smith says he was under the assumption that he had combined the two parcels.

“When I paid my taxes on the house they told me they were going to try to combine them, so I would have just one tax bill. I thought they had done that and I had paid it, but it turns out they didn’t,” said Smith. “I had just assumed it was paid.”

Smith says he is going to try to combine the land on the same deed for next year.

Ohatchee Mayor Steve Baswell owed $59.65 for one of several properties he owns on Ingram Wells Circle, according to county records. Baswell couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Weaver City Councilman Michael Warren has two properties listed in his name. One at 391 Main St. was paid in full on January 4. The second, which also lists a property owner under the name Janice B. Warren, is delinquent.

Warren said though records still list him as a homeowner, the property actually belongs to his ex-wife, whom he divorced in 1986. He hasn’t paid taxes on the property since then, he said.

“I’m not responsible for it,” Warren said. “It is kind of surprising she hasn’t paid. Usually she pays on time.”

Weaver Councilwoman Sheila Field owed $828.90 on her home on Clara Lane. She said she recently refinanced her home and thought her mortgage company would automatically pay the bill.

Field, who is at a conference in Birmingham, said she planned to pay the bill the first of next week.

Mayor Alberta McCrory said she knew she owed the property taxes but got mixed up about the date they were due.

She said she planned to pay the taxes — $162.93 for a property on Church Street — on Friday.

“I have no problem paying my taxes,” McCrory said.

Hobson City Councilman O’Mildred Ball could not be reached for comment. County records show him owing a tax of $189.20 on his home on Bradford Street.

Anniston Councilman Herbert Palmore told The Star earlier this week that his taxes were late due to the fact that he’d paid off his mortgage last year and thought the mortgage company would be handling that year’s tax payment.

Anniston Councilman Ben Little declined comment on his taxes earlier this week, saying only that his bill would be paid.

Anniston Star staffers Jason Bacaj, Laura Johnson, Tim Lockette, Patrick McCreless and Cameron Steele contributed to this report, as did Jacksonville News reporter David Jennings.
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