The payment due date for the first half of 2020 property taxes, May 15, has passed.

Lake County administrator Matt Huddleston told the Lake County Board of Commissioners at their meeting on Tuesday, May 19 that five businesses requested a late fee abatement, citing COVID-19 pandemic complications.

Back in April, the commissioners considered whether to postpone the due date for taxes or provide a different form of tax relief due to the pandemic. Ultimately the board chose to take requests for payment delays on a case-by-case basis and will abate penalties and interest in the interim.

Now that five businesses have requested the delay in payment, which will push the due date back to July 15, Huddleston asked the board for further direction. Commissioners Rick Hogenson and Jeremy Hurd asked that the businesses fill out a form to show how the pandemic has impacted them.

"Just give us some indication of why you're asking for it," Hurd said. "I know everyone's hurting from COVID right now, but a little more info would be helpful when we make decisions."

The commissioners also requested more information from the county auditor's office to indicate whether the businesses applying for the loans are already delinquent.

The commissioners clarified that this extension only applies to taxes in the first half of 2020.

The board is expected to take action on the applications at a future meeting.

Board of appeals and equalization

County assessor Gregg Swartwoudt said the county commissioners could likely expect appeals from Unorganized Territory 2 and Silver Bay at next month's Board of Appeal and Equalization hearing on June 22. Swartwodt said this is based on how the local board hearings held over the first weeks of May went and on the increases in property value in these particular areas.

"We've already had dozens of phone calls about UT2," Swartwoudt said. "Many are seeing an increase of approximately 25% of buildings and land values."

Meanwhile areas of Silver Bay are seeing property values increase 30%.

"That's garnered a lot of complaints, as well," Swartwoudt said. "Our staff is spending more time with property owners explaining the market and how it works, but we're likely to see appeals from these two areas."

Swartwoudt said the changes in the market value uses data from 18 months prior to when property owners receive their notices.

"So know that none of the changes are due to the current conditions," Swartwoudt said. "We have to go by the data and keep to the codes."

Property owners who plan to appeal their assessments will have a few options to choose from when addressing the board on June 22. Due to the social distancing recommendations, they can either attend the meeting in-person, but they will address the board via a Zoom video call in the building, guided by an assessor.

They can attend the Zoom meeting via their own Internet connection.

If neither of those options is preferred, attendees can go to the meeting in-person when it is their turn for appeal. Those choosing the last option will be guided in and out of the building to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.