Delinquent property taxes in Norwich stood at $131,767 as of Sept. 26, according to Finance Director Roberta Robinson. "Last year at this time delinquent taxes were $75,443," Robinson wrote in her monthly report to the town manager.
What might look like an alarming increase is actually a return to the norm, Robinson said in an interview. Last year's figure was unusually low because a taxpayer with a big delinquent bill paid up, she said.
The first of two payments for this tax year was due on Aug. 17. The second payment is due Feb. 19. If you miss the first deadline, your taxes are considered late. Taxes aren't considered delinquent unless you miss the second deadline too.
Town Manager Herb Durfee said the amount of past-due taxes in Norwich is low relative to many other communities. Late payments are typically due to a death in the family or other personal and sometimes temporary issues -- including forgetfulness.
"Typically they reach out to us or we reach out to them," he said of people who fall behind. Some taxpayers just need a reminder. Others go on a payment plan.
Those who miss even the first payment pay a price: 1 percent per month interest for the first three months, and 1.5 percent per month thereafter.
Durfee said the town's objective is helping taxpayers catch up by the time the next half of the property tax bill is due. At that point, taxpayers who are delinquent face an 8 percent penalty on what's still due, in addition to the 1 to 1.5 percent interest on the principal.
Total school and town taxes due in August amounted to just under $17 million, according to Robinson's report. That's an increase of $425,000 or 2.6 percent over last year. As of Sept. 26, the amount unpaid on the August bill was $119,756, Robinson wrote.