Hidalgo County works to collect past due taxes

Letters being sent out to delinquent property owners

If you owe property taxes in Hidalgo county, now is the time to pay up. Right now the county has more $34 million in delinquent property taxes.

We spoke with the county attorney who gave a break down on how they collect and why it is better to pay sooner rather than later.

"February 1st, 2013, all property taxes that were owed in 2012 become delinquent, Hidalgo County Attorney John David Franz.

His office is responsible for collecting property taxes that go unpaid.

"Keep in mind that we do collect priors 2011, 2010, 2009 because there are accounts that go back several years," Franz added.

Franz said $10.6 million dollars worth of property taxes went unpaid in 2012. His office mails out statements to homeowners as efforts to collect the money. They also make calls, but if they are still unable to collect, he files a lawsuit on behalf of the county.

"If you don TMt pay for a couple of years you can expect a lawsuit to be filed," Franz said. Franz says it TMs important for home owners to pay property taxes on time. If you do not, a six percent penalty is added in February, as well as a one percent interest charge. Each month the bill goes unpaid another one percent is added.

On July 1st, an additional 15 percent penalty is added for attorney fees.

"We get some good people who come in here who try and pay their taxes and we try and work with them," Franz said. Franz said his office plans to collect 35 percent of delinquent taxes by June 2014. He hopes those with delinquent accounts pay their taxes because a lawsuit can end in foreclosure.