• 55°

Windsor tax bills now due in June

The town of Windsor has changed its real estate tax billing cycle from a calendar year format to a fiscal one.

As a result, residents will from now on see due dates in June rather than December on their bills.

Though most residents recently paid a year’s worth of real estate taxes in December 2020, they’ll receive another bill in June of this year for the first six months of 2021. After that, they won’t see another town real estate tax bill until June 2022.

The Town Council’s vote to collect rather than forgive the tax owed for the six-month gap between last year’s bill and the start of the 2021-2022 fiscal year was 5-1, with the nay vote coming from Councilwoman Kelly Blankenship.

The change, according to Town Manager William Saunders, is intended to correct an issue with the town’s new finance software, Munis, made by Tyler Technologies. But Blankenship argued town residents weren’t responsible for the issue and that many likely haven’t budgeted for the unexpected bill.

The town had begun converting to Munis in 2015 to make itself more compatible with Isle of Wight County, which uses the same software. In 2019, an issue with the software’s ability to import valuation assessments from the Isle of Wight County Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office caused a nearly 90-day delay in mailing personal property tax bills to town residents.

The 2019 issue, which Mayor Glyn Willis said involved differences in the town’s and county’s “classification” of vehicles, only impacted the town’s personal property taxes and was eventually resolved. But according to Saunders, additional data-sharing issues have persisted despite the town and county using the same software — namely due to the county performing its assessments on a fiscal-year basis and the town billing on a calendar-year basis.

The June 2021 bills, coupled with what residents already paid in December for calendar year 2020, will result in the town receiving 18 months of real estate tax revenue for fiscal year 2020-2021.

According to Saunders, who had recommended against forgiving the tax current property owners will owe for January through June, doing so “could be seen as an equity issue,” since the previous and subsequent owners of that same property would not be afforded the same relief.

Personal property taxes will remain billed on a calendar year basis and due in December. According to Treasurer Cheryl McClanahan, this is mandated by state law.