Delinquent taxes list incorrect

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County clerk apologies for mistake

By John Whitlock

A mistake by the Owen County clerk led to the accidental publication of several names as being delinquent on property taxes even though their taxes had been paid.

Owen County Clerk Joan Kincaid said there have been several changes to the process of printing delinquent tax bills this year that resulted in her mistake.

“In years past, the sheriff’s office did everything,” Kincaid said. “This year, the laws have changed on how the tax lists were to be handled.”

In an effort to make sure no errors were made, Kincaid picked up the list of delinquent tax payers from the Owen County Sheriff’s Office on June 3, several days before the final deadline to pay.

Kincaid said she wanted to get a head start on the list for technical and computer-related issues.

“The files had to be converted to a langauge everyone could understand,” Kincaid said.

One copy of the disc was given to the News-Herald for publication and another was handed over to the Owen County Attorney’s Office which would handle any sales of property for delinquent taxes.

After the deadline, Kincaid picked up the new list from the sheriff’s office. She gave a new list to the county attorney’s office but failed to deliver a copy to the News-Herald.

“There is no one else to blame but me,” Kincaid said. “This is totally on me. It’s my responsibility.”

When it was published  in the June 3 News-Herald, the advertisement listed the names of 68 Owen County property owners as delinquent when in fact they had paid before the deadline.

“On Wednesday morning, as soon as the paper came out, it started,” Kincaid said. “I got the first call right at 8 o’clock that there had been a mistake.”

Kincaid’s office was soon flooded with calls.

“I can’t say enough how sorry I am this happened,” Kincaid said. “I’ve tried to run the office in a professional manner and for something like this to happen, it’s just terrible.”

The mistake affected 68 taxpayers including Owenton Mayor David “Milkweed” Wotier.

The mayor has accepted Kincaid’s explaination and apology.

Wotier, who also serves as pastor at Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, said he felt the issue had gotten out of hand.

“It was an honest mistake,” Wotier said. “I do think it should have been checked again but these things happen. It was embarrassing for me because I think sometimes people see ministers as being above reproach, but it was human error and it just got way out of hand.”

Since the incident, Kincaid said she has enacted changes in her office to make sure nothing like this happens again.