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Disregard that tax statement: Glitch sends out bills to wrong owners

WORTHINGTON -- Some Nobles County taxpayers got a surprise when they opened the 2013 property tax statements that arrived in Monday's mail.

For some it was a pleasant surprise, for others, somewhat of a shock. But in either case, they can expect the payable amount on their tax statement to change.

Nobles County used an outside company to send out this year's property tax statements. The company has done other contract work with the county, according to Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster, but this is the first time its services were used for the property tax statements.

"They do the mailing because they can get a better deal postage-wise," she said. "They sent us the proofs, and the proofs looked fine."

Somehow, a shift in the company's system caused the wrong names to go on the wrong statements.

"There's no way for us to figure out what the computer did -- no rhyme or reason to it," noted Balster. "It's not like you got your neighbor's; you got someone's from clear across the country."

On Monday afternoon, the county offices were flooded with calls regarding the misdirected statements.

"Everybody's been very understanding," Balster said.

The correct statements are being remailed to the correct parties and should arrive within a few days.

"If people can't wait, the correct one is one our website,," Balster said. "Just click on 'online property tax parcel search,' and you can get to the correct statement."

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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