The Lawrence County courthouse 

The Lawrence County Treasurer's Office plans on hosting its outreach tax collection program again this year to make county property tax payments easier for the taxpayers.

Treasurer Richard L. Rapone told the commissioners at their regular public meeting Tuesday that of the 23 locations he has hosted in the past, he has permission to use 22 of those sites again this year. A schedule will be announced, with the outreach starting March 3.

He emphasized that even though an outreach site might be in a particular township or borough on a given day, taxpayers can go to any site and they don't  have to go to the site near where they live.

The tax outreach program was canceled last year when COVID-19 restrictions went into place. Instead, people paid their taxes in the drop box located outside of the courthouse, and others paid online through the county website, and others send payments in the mail. Wesbanco also collected more than $770,000 for the county last year, but has informed Rapone that it will not participate in the tax collection this year.

"It was an extremely challenging and different way to provide services," he said. He noted that "if something goes awry" with COVID-19 circumstances this year, he will send out a message to the taxpayers to inform them.

Rapone reported a 92 percent collection rate on county property taxes for 2020. The county had a potential to collect $30,239,174 in taxes last year. It collected a total of $27,856,290 through Jan. 11 this year, for last year's taxes. Of that $1,102,108 was paid by taxpayers during the penalty phase of the year.

He reported that about $2,382,883 worth of delinquent taxes will be turned over to the Lawrence County Tax Claim Bureau, which will assess additional financial penalties on the amounts due by taxpayers.

Monday was the last day for people to pay their 2020 taxes at the treasurer's office. However, because of snags in the mail service, payments  received now that were postmarked in December will be accepted in his office, he said.

Rapone said he anticipates the 2021 county property tax bills will be mailed to property owners in February.

He also reported that the county sold 11,568 dog licenses and 10,897 doe licenses last year.

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Debbie's been a journalist at the New Castle News since 1978, and covers county government, police and fire, New Castle schools, environment and various other realms. She also writes features, takes photos and video and copy edits.

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