McCloud residents receive erroneous tax bills

Carol Sunnucks

Several McCloud residents were left scratching their heads in recent weeks when they received delinquent tax notices threatening possible judicial foreclosure on their property based on tax bills they already had paid.

Delinquency notices for tax payments related to the McCloud Community Services District Special Assessment for its water and sewer systems improvement project bonds were sent erroneously to some residents by the District’s contracted bond administrator, NBS, in early February.

Siskiyou County auditor-controller Jennie Eberjer said tax payment records, which are public documents, are released upon request to firms such as NBS, but the parameters of this specific request were not clearly identified. She said the firm requested payment data as of Dec. 10, 2012, but did not properly include the request to include data that had been postmarked, but not recorded, prior to that date. Those postmarked prior to Dec. 10 are considered on-time, but would not have been included in the data as requested by NBS, she said.

In the county data, there were only seven property owners listed as delinquent on their payments due Dec. 10, but Diana King, administrative secretary of the McCloud Community Services District, said the district had received phone calls from about 20 McCloud residents who received the delinquent notices in error. The County Tax Collector’s Office reported that it also had received “a lot” of phone calls related to the matter.

NBS President and CEO Mike Rentner confirmed that the matter was an issue of miscommunications between his firm and Siskiyou County.

“There was a miscommunication between the data we were requesting and what we were given,” he said. “We’ve been in business for over 16 years and have an excellent reputation. We apologize for any confusion or grief this may have caused.”

Rentner said a new payment list was provided by the County effective Feb. 4, and new letters were sent out to approximately 140 residents on Feb. 11. He said he could not determine how many letters went out erroneously in the first instance.

“We want to be over-cautious,” he said, explaining that letters would be sent to those who are currently delinquent as well as others who may have never been late to begin with.

While that may have accounted for some of the fallacious delinquency notices, there were some residents who were reported as paid in the first batch of county records that were given to NBS, yet they still received the delinquent notice.

McCloud homeowner Gloria Duffy was one of those who received the letter even though the county records showed her payment was postmarked Dec. 1 and documented by the County as paid on Dec. 7. The deadline for payments was Dec. 10, 2012.

Duffy shared her payment records with Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers, and her payment was confirmed by records released by the County Auditor’s Office. The Auditor’s office released the data that was given to NBS, and in those documents Duffy was listed among those who had, in fact, paid their assessments. So it remains unclear why she, and possibly others, received a notice.

When asked about that discrepancy, Rentner said he was not aware of any situations of that nature and could not speak to questions about specific property owners. He also would not provide a copy of the new letter that was sent to property owners.

Property owners who received letters and would like to confirm their property tax payments can contact the Tax Collector’s Office at 530-842-8340.