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Cleveland County Assessor Doug Warr and County Treasurer Jim Reynolds speak outside of the Cleveland County Courthouse, 201 S. Jones Ave

Cleveland County residents should have their property tax statements, County Treasurer Jim Reynolds said. And at least half of those tax bills, to the penny, are due Dec. 31.

“As long as it is postmarked by Dec. 31, it is not considered delinquent,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said for those who pay half, the remainder of the bill will be due March 31.

He encourages everyone to be proactive in getting their payments in to allow for sufficient time for errors to be addressed, recommending having the payment in about 10 days before the Dec. 31 deadline.

“Pay early,” Reynolds said. “If there’s an issue and people don’t mail it until their last day, by the time that issue is discovered, addressed and sent back to the person, they will have a delinquent payment.”

Additionally, Reynolds said for anyone who has their property taxes paid through a mortgage company, allow them to take care of it and not worry if you receive a bill, as it could make for a long and irritating process for residents.

“We are obligated by law to send the property tax statements, even to people who have an escrow account for their mortgage,” he said.

“When residents and the mortgage company both make payments, the payment has already been processed, so it could take the mortgage company 60 to 90 days to get the payment back into residents’ pockets. It’s a long ordeal that doesn’t need to happen. If you have an escrow, don’t worry about it. The bill will be paid by your mortgage company.”

Reynolds said he still anticipates people will wait until the last minute to make a payment. He wants to make them aware that they could find themselves waiting in line, with a 5 p.m deadline.

Money from the taxes will directly benefit the community within a couple of weeks after each payment is processed, two-thirds of which will benefit schools, Reynolds said. The remainder will go to the county, aiding in building roads and in operations.

“Every two weeks, we are portioning out the money and sending it back to the community where it’s needed,” Reynolds said.

For those mailing in their payment, make checks payable to Cleveland County Treasurer and mail them to 201 S. Jones Ave., Suite 100, Norman, OK 73069.

To pay in person, go to the Cleveland County Treasurer’s Office on the first floor of the Cleveland County Courthouse, 201 S. Jones Ave. in Norman. Offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Dec. 31. Reynolds said keep in mind that the courthouse will be closed Dec. 24 and 25 and could be closed if storms come in.

The third alternative is to pay at clevelandcountytreasurer.com, but a convenience fee of 2.4 percent for credit card payments and MasterCard debits, with a minimum $2 fee for credit cards, accompanies that option. The E-Check option includes a $2 charge.

Credit and debit card charges also apply to phone payments. To pay by phone, have your account number available and call 866-518-2297. Anyone needing to pay with a Visa debit card will need to pay by phone; that option has been removed from the website.

For more information, call 366-0217.

Jacob McGuire is the Crime and Courts reporter for The Norman Transcript. McGuire is currently pursuing his MPA at the University of Oklahoma.