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Computer error distributes excess tax dollars

Staff writer

County coffers are more than $240,000 lighter than they should be due to a January computer error that resulted in excess tax distributions to local taxing districts.

Marion County treasurer Jeanine Bateman notified county commissioners Tuesday that the error was discovered when reviewing a $12 million distribution.

The overpayment of $246,438 came from motor vehicle taxes, Bateman said.

“It wasn’t my best day when we found it,” Bateman said in a phone interview Monday afternoon.

Bateman said that when they were balancing funds at the end of the month, they found funds in the negatives and started tracking them.

Those who got extra payments included cities, some cemetery districts, the state, some improvement districts, and fire districts.

Bateman said precautions already have been taken to avoid future errors like this.

“They’ve written a correction so it can’t happen again,” Bateman said, “and we’re putting in manual checks, which we hadn’t been doing before.”

Marion City Administrator Roger Holter said he had received a call from Bateman around 11 a.m. Monday indicating they had received too much of a disbursement, about $64,00, and would receive a formal notification.

“We received no explanation,” Holter said. “Just that the amount was given to us, so we’ll anxiously await what her correspondence is for the alleged overpayment.”

Hillsboro City Administrator Larry Paine said Bateman had contacted clerk Jan Meisinger regarding the situation.

“We appreciate the notice,” Paine said, “It leaves us to figure out how to deal with it.”

Bateman said her office will work with cities and other taxing districts on how to repay the money.

Options include paying it back directly, or having the county withhold funds from future disbursements until the error is corrected.

“They’ve had it since January 20, so it could be spent,” Bateman said. “It was our error so we need to work with them.”

Last modified Feb. 18, 2016

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