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Coronavirus

Kendall County may waive penalties, interest on late property tax bills

Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel talks during a Feb. 4 County Board meeting at the county office building in Yorkville.
Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel talks during a Feb. 4 County Board meeting at the county office building in Yorkville.

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YORKVILLE – Kendall County property taxpayers would have additional time to pay the first installment on their tax bills this spring without penalties or interest under a plan set for a County Board vote early next week.

Kendall County Board members further discussed the possibility of delaying interest and penalties on the bills during their remote Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday, April 16. Member Elizabeth Flowers was absent from the meeting.

The intent of the proposal is to offer some relief for county property owners experiencing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 corornaivrus pandemic.

Under the proposal, County Administrator Scott Koeppel said county residents would submit applications for the penalty and interest waiver to the treasurer's office. He said the tentative due date for the applications is June 1 if they're approved by the County Board during their Tuesday, April 21 meeting.

"That way, these are coming in before the [first installment payment] due date," Koeppel said.

County property tax bills are due each year in two installment payments, one June and the second in September. The treasurer's office typically mails out the tax bills at the end of April or in early May.

Koeppel said the due date for the first installment payment has not yet been set as of Thursday, but the thought was it would be probably after June 10. He said the June 10 first installment due date as outlined on the penalties and interest waiver application was just put in as an example number for now.

Koeppel said the penalties and interest would be delayed for 60 days, or through Aug. 10.

"And that's to try to get those people that have been out of work because of this, or have non-essential jobs, can go back and then have a little more time to be able to make the payment," Koeppel said.

Kendall County Treasurer Jill Ferko said the application will be sent to property owners with their bills for the first installments of their property taxes, provided the County Board approves the proposal and application during their Tuesday meeting.

"So hopefully people will open up their tax bills and look at them," Ferko said.

Koeppel said the application must be completed by the owner of the property in question, but this applies to any properties they own within Kendall County and not just their primary residence.

The update comes after county officials previously publicly discussed the issue during the remote April 7 County Board meeting.

Ferko had said about 40% of residential property taxes are paid through escrow, according to the treasurer's office's collections. She had said the office typically sees escrow payments with residential properties and not commercial properties.

Kendall County Board Chairman and committee member Scott Gryder said the county doesn't anticipate a delay in receiving those escrow property tax payments.

Gryder said county officials have also contacted other taxing bodies, including school districts, since they count on receiving revenues from the first installment payment by the end of their fiscal years in June. He said he thinks those officials understood this is a unique time and there are going to be challenges that everybody will have to work through due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I will say that the school districts do have obvious concerns about making their ends meet," Gryder said.

Committee member Tony Giles said he likes the idea that the county isn't just kicking the full installment plans down the road for a month.

"Because it's not like in four weeks people are going to magically have another ... $3,000 to $4,000 in their account," Giles said.

Committee member Judy Gilmour said she would like to see the date for interest to start accruing be on Aug. 11, especially if the purpose is to help the taxpayer.

"So that they're one day late," Gilmour said.

Ferko had said the treasurer's office typically collects $300,000 to $350,000 in late fees every year. She had said most of those late fees come after the second installment.

The next County Board meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 21. Remote attendance directions for the meeting will appear on the calendar on the county's website, co.kendall.il.us.

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