Are those who govern the law exempt from abiding by it? That's the question many viewers are asking News Three.
News Three reported on Tuesday that Brazos County Justice of The Peace Ramiro "Big Q" Quintero was in court facing fraud allegations. He was ordered to hand over financial documents, to see how cost-effective it would be to pursue the lawsuit. That's because Quintero has about $32,000 in outstanding property taxes.
News Three went to the Brazos County Tax Office to find out whether Justice of the Peace Quintero is getting special treatment.
We found Quintero is in fact paying off four years worth of delinquent taxes on several properties. The Brazos County Tax Office says his wages are being garnished to pay off his debt.
"We're not here to try to take your property," Brazos County Tax Assessor-Collector Kristeen Roe said.
Roe says the tax office is here to help.
"Our job is to try and make sure everyone is treated fairly," Roe said.
That includes Justice of the Peace Quintero.
The Brazos County Tax Office says Quintero is following the same rules as everyone else.
He has signed a formal payment agreement. In fact, a portion of his pay check is automatically drafted by the tax office.
The tax office says payment plans are not unusual. Plus, the office says it works with everyone.
"It varies on the situation, on the individual," Roe said. "If it is your homestead, we're going to work very hard to try and help someone keep their home."
Officials say Quintero was initially notified that his property could be foreclosed on. Four notices are sent out a year, reminding people when to pay and if they miss the deadline.
If Quintero fails to stick with his formal payment agreement, he faces foreclosure again.
If you don't pay your property taxes on time, you will face penalty fines and interest. Penalty fines start at seven percent and max out at 12 percent. Interest rates, however, go up one percent every month, until your payment is made.
As a reminder, if you decided to use the split payment option for your 2007 property taxes, Monday, June 30 is the deadline. To avoid late penalties and interest, your payment must be delivered to the tax office by Monday or post marked by June 30.
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