County tax bill confusion intensifies (coputer software problem then the phone system crashed) : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Link Thursday, November 4, 1999

County Tax-Bill Confusion Intensifies

By Miguel Navrot Journal Staff Writer Day two of the Santa Fe County property tax printing error predicament offered more of the same -- confusion, apologies and explanations. But by Wednesday, county officials hoped they were on their way to remedying the problem with a bill reprint. "We're sorry for the inconvenience and the grief," said County Treasurer Phil Trujillo. "Most people have been understanding, but this has been extremely frustrating." The frustration set in Tuesday as thousands of county property owners received their tax bills with addressee errors. The first line on the envelopes contained an incorrect name, although the second in-care-of entry was, technically, correct. The envelopes had the correct address and bill amounts. But the error, attributed by county officials to the computer software maker, caused some taxpayers to think their property had a lien or had been transferred to another person. Confusion snowballed Wednesday. Residents continued pouring into county administrative offices, and telephone calls became so heavy the county's system malfunctioned. General Services director Vincent "Corky" Ojinaga said many callers were cut off. And throughout the day, the Treasurer's Office number remained busy. "We're asking the taxpayers to bear with us as we work to reestablish our phone service," Ojinaga said. "We want to emphasize that this is not intentional, but a result of our overloaded phone system." U S West spokeswoman Valerie Santillanes said a high volume of calls could create technical problems. "The system is not built to handle everyone calling at once," Santillanes said. Trujillo suggested residents who want to have an explanation about their bill, visit the offices, 102 Grant Ave., rather than risk having their telephone call disconnected. As for a reprint, officials could be doing one soon. The first bill shipment included more than 56,000 statements at a cost of roughly $35,000. Trujillo estimated that more than 40,000 would need to be remailed, and the original Nov. 10 deadline is tentatively set to be pushed back to Dec. 10, with a grace period extending to Jan. 10. At the same time, officials don't expect a revenue shortfall. The bills to mortgage companies, which make up a large chunk of the property tax revenue, apparently were received without the glitch. That money should come in around Dec. 10, and the entities that receive money from the county -- the city of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Public Schools and Santa Fe Community College -- should receive their portions without problems. Taxpayers who want to pay their bills now can do so, Trujillo said, and callers can try getting through at 986-6245.

-- Homer Beanfang (, November 05, 1999


Imagine that, a non-date field mistakenly printed on an envelope ultimately (though indirectly) resulted in a phone system crashing. Contingency reaction (I mean plan) - please don't call, just all 40,000 to 56,000 of y'all come on down and stand in line. Guess the next headline will be, "DISGRUNTLED TAX PAYERS IN SANTE FE -------"

-- NotY2K (, November 05, 1999.

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