Unopened Checks Clog County's Finances

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Budget cuts to Alabama's most populous
county have left thousands of personal checks to pay property taxes
sitting in boxes, unopened and waiting to be deposited in bank accounts.

Jefferson County Tax Collector J.T. Smallwood told The Birmingham News his staff has not been able to keep up with the crush of tax payments that came at the end of the year because his staff has been slashed by 30 percent from cuts and a county hiring freeze.

Some 20 mail crates stuffed with thousands of unopened property tax payments sat in the office this week.

So far county employees have only deposited about $346 million of the $570 million in property taxes expected this year, and taxpayers have jammed the phone lines wanting to know why their checks haven't cleared.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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