The penalty period for businesses and individuals paying the second half of their 2020 property taxes has been waived until April 30, according to Cherokee County Treasurer Patsy Stafford.
Stafford and other officials gathered with the Cherokee County Commissioners Monday morning, March 30, for a "call of the chair meeting" to discuss COVID-19 and its effects on local government.
Since the first round of taxes were due before the coronavirus hit the area, they are not affected.
“The second half due date has been moved to April 30 at this time,” said Stafford. “It doesn’t matter who’s paying it. If their taxes are delinquent, normally, they have until March 31 to pay without a penalty.”
The courthouse is closed to the public, and commissioners said they are trying to limit access as much as possible.
Commissioners stressed that the offices in the courthouse will not take cash payments during the pandemic – for property taxes or otherwise.
“People are going to wait until the last day and try to come up here and pay in cash,” said District 2 County Commissioner Mike Brown. “That’s not going to happen if we’re still under quarantine. They need to make preparations now to get a money order to pay those half [of their taxes] by mail and get it in by [April] 30.”
Brown said they will only accept checks or money orders, and payments need to be made via phone, online, or dropbox just inside the entry of the courthouse.
“They need to prepare, and they can’t wait until the last minute. They’ve had an extension by the government to extend their stuff out,” said Brown. “So they need to take this time to go to the bank, get a money order, and drop it in the mail or the dropbox.”
Cherokee County District Court Clerk Lesa Rousey-Daniels said the Oklahoma Supreme Court left it up to the counties to decide how operations are handled at this time.
“I got clarification from the judges on marriage licenses, and unless it’s an emergency, we won't be doing marriages licenses,” said Rousey-Daniels. “They’ve left it up to each county to decide what they’re going to allow those or not. The only thing that we have to do is guardianships and issuing protective orders.”