“Most folks have been pretty understanding” about learning that their property-tax checks may have been accidentally destroyed, according to Delaware County Treasurer Jon Peterson.

Property owners recently received a letter in bright red envelopes from the Delaware County Treasurer’s Office informing them that some 2016 second-half real estate payment checks had been accidentally destroyed.

The treasurer’s office asked taxpayers to write another check in order to pay their property taxes for the second half of the year.

“It’s been smooth sailing,” Peterson said. “Some of the envelopes had little notes in them, thanking us for the notice.”

Last week Peterson told The Gazette, “A couple of batches got confused and mixed in with batches scheduled for destruction.”

The treasurer’s office’s dilemma was not knowing who had paid property taxes and who had not.

The checks were destroyed before the payments could be recorded. “We don’t know which checks were destroyed,” Peterson said.

In an effort to correct the mistake, Peterson said his office sent out letters, notifying property owners of the error and asking them to verify if their tax checks had cleared their banks.

If the checks had not yet cleared the bank, the treasurer’s office asked taxpayers to cancel their first checks and issue second checks. “People were pretty good,” Peterson said. “Most folks have been pretty understanding.”

Peterson said he had received about 200 in this Monday’s mail. “It’s starting to trickle off,” he said. “We’re just about to get it all wrapped up.”

The treasurer’s letter stated the checks were received by mail in the treasurer’s office July 5 and the office believes the destroyed payments were mailed out between June 30 and July 4.

The July 10 deadline to make payment has been extended. “The deadline is now Aug. 5,” Peterson said. “So far the response has been good.”

Peterson said he understands the inconvenience the error might have caused and is asking for anyone with questions to call his office at 740-833-2480.

The letter also stated that the mistake is the fault of the treasurer’s office and “we are working hard to remedy the problem.”

The statement said, “No penalties will be charged for late payment.”

Tax checks accidentally destroyed

By D. Anthony Botkin

[email protected]

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.