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New tax collection system in Bossier Parish will bring higher late fees

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BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

A new property tax collection system in Bossier Parish will mean higher penalty fees for those who pay late.

28 agencies in Bossier Parish depend on property taxes for funding, ranging from the school board to fire districts.
     
So when people don't pay, it's a problem. "In the past we have spent a lot of man hours, in an effort to collect those taxes," said Major David Miller, of the Bossier Parish Sheriff's office support division. 

Miller explained while the number changes everyday, as of Thursday, 5.4 million dollars is uncollected out of 96-million dollars worth of property taxes.
     
Each year the effort to collect the unpaid taxes, makes work very busy between the months of February and May. That is until this year, the department has outsourced the work to a New Orleans based business called Archon information systems.

"Archon is going to relieve us of those efforts and they are going to handle those for us, in hopes that we will be able to redirect that man power to other Sheriff's offices," said Miller.

The company will do the work at no cost to the Sheriff's office, but the work isn't free. An immediate one time 10% late fee will be added to the already 1% monthly late fee. "Those fees will be passed on to the delinquent property owners," said Miller.

Miller says warnings about the new fee were sent out in mid-November on the tax bills. "We had disclosures on the front and the back, hopefully they saw those," said Miller.

According to the department, properties that continue to have unpaid property taxes will be placed on a property tax sale list that will be administered sometime in May.  In the past, the tax sale was held at the Bossier Parish Courthouse, but CivicSource.com will now administer the tax sale online.  The online auction will allow access to a greater number of citizens who will now be able to bid on properties from the convenience of their own homes or places of business.

With Archon conducting the delinquent tax collection and property tax sale, this will save the Bossier Sheriff's Office manpower and money, while at the same time allowing more people access to the bid process," said Sheriff Whittington.  "However, as the Ex-Officio Tax Collector of Bossier Parish, I will continue to administer the overall collection of property taxes."

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