The Schilling show has learned that nearly 23,000 Albemarle County taxpayers have received Real Estate Tax Bills containing erroneous information. Following is a clarifying statement from Albemarle County spokesperson, Lee Catlin:
During the process of uploading mortgage company files as part of the Finance Department’s tax bill processing work for the 2015 2ndHalf Real Estate Tax Bills, a file identifying Lereta, LLC as the mortgage company on property accounts that were not Lereta’s was accidently and erroneously uploaded – unfortunately as a result of this error the incorrect mortgage company information was printed on the bills of the affected properties, approximately 23,000 bills. Those bills were mailed out late last week.
While there is no immediate impact to affected property owners, the County is anxious to make sure that this erroneous information is corrected as soon as possible. By Monday, November 2, 2015, the Finance Department will send the affected property owners a new tax bill without the erroneous mortgage company information and include a letter of apology and full explanation. We believe it is important for all affected owners to receive a corrected statement to ensure they know it is their responsibility to pay the taxes by the due date of December 7, 2015. In addition to the letter, the County is posting clarifying information to Albemarle’s website and sharing via email.
The Finance Department will also send a letter to actual Lereta, LLC mortgage holders clarifying that they did receive accurate information so that there is no confusion on their part.
The error was not detected during the Quality Assurance / Quality Control review process, but future QA/QC checklists will include review of the mortgage company indicators before bills are printed.
No threat to personal information – the clerical error occurred because a code was erroneously applied to the account by a Finance Department employee and the error went undetected until after the bills were printed and mailed. There is no fraud, and there is absolutely no additional risk of identity theft.
Timely response – all affected property owners will be contacted directly by mail within the next several days to clarify the situation and allow plenty of time for property owners to pay the appropriate taxes by the December 7, 2015 deadline.
No financial misinformation/impact – While the affected tax bills did include an incorrect statement that the mortgage company Lereta LLC had been billed for the taxes, all tax amounts included in the bills are correct and all impacted property owners have until December 7, 2015, to make the appropriate payment.
Quality control measures – We added an additional step in our multi-page QA checklist to review the mortgage company files more closely to avoid this type of inadvertent error in the future.
No financial impact?
If you add up real costs, including wasted county employee and citizens time, postage, not to mention aggravation, probably a $30,000+ mistake.
That $30,000 could have gone for education, or a $500 raise for every street officer on our police force, or just stayed in our pockets.