Oct. 7 reader letters

Oct 07, 2016

To the editor:
In regard to the story in Wednesday's paper titled, "Tax collector questioned," I think the key take away should be that when I took office at the end of 2014, I inherited $2.8 million in delinquent accounts. At the end of 2015 (my first full year) the delinquent balance dropped to $2.46 million.

We currently have a delinquent balance of $2.52 million, up slightly from the $2.46 million, but keep in mind we are not quite half way through the end of our fiscal year. We still have a lot of time to make up that difference and to reduce that number by even more than the previous $2.46 million.

We have managed to do this with a practically brand-new staff and maintained a current collection rate of 97+ percent for the past two years (hasn’t been that high since 2007).

My staff and I attribute these numbers to the fact we are dedicated to working with the taxpayers in order to find a way to help them bring and keep their taxes current. It is our goal to treat everyone fairly regardless of their name, status, or who their friends are.

Furthermore, the statement in the newspaper (since corrected online) that a 3-cent per $100 tax hike would be required to make up for the loss is completely untrue. I can’t guarantee that the board of commissioners will not do another tax hike. However, I can guarantee that if there is one it will not be because of the performance of the tax office.

There are always areas where we can improve and we are constantly looking for ways to become more productive and efficient. However, we refuse to do anything that does not benefit the citizens of Haywood County.

I am extremely pleased with the results of the tax office since I was elected into office. My staff and I will continue to strive to maintain the positive results we have achieved the past two years.

Mike Matthews

Haywood County Tax Collector