That property tax refund you’re expecting? $1.7 million sitting in county office

Horry County Treasurer candidate Angie Jones addressed problems in the treasurer’s office during her campaign last summer.
Horry County Treasurer candidate Angie Jones addressed problems in the treasurer’s office during her campaign last summer. jblackmon@thesunnews.com

The check was in the mail, but the Post Office wasn’t able to deliver it.

That’s the explanation from the Horry County treasurer’s office when it tried to send out refund checks to residents who over-payed their property taxes and $1.7 million in payments were returned to the county office.

Horry County Treasurer Angie Jones says the office is scrambling to determine if the returns were because of bad addresses, typos, or other reasons.

The checks were mailed before Jones took over the office July 1, and she says her office is in the process of resending the checks.

“We’ve even gone to the extent of going online and try to find phone numbers for these people,” Jones said. “If they are due a refund and we’ve got an address, they can call and let us know.”

The treasury office is located in the county building in Conway at 1301 Second Avenue. The phone number is 843-915-5470.

Another option under consideration to distribute the refunds is a link on the treasurer’s web page to apply for unclaimed funds, Jones said.

Jones won the treasurer’s seat in a hotly contested campaign last year against opponent Jonathan Hyman. Both were employees in the treasurer’s office, and were running to replace outgoing Treasurer Roddy Dickinson.

Jones won the election with 55 percent of the vote, compared to Hyman, who carried 45 percent of ballots cast. Unlike other county officials that took office in January, the treasurer does not take office until the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1.

Returned checks weren’t the only problems Jones says she has encountered.

Jones told the county council’s administrative committee this week that a lot of work in the treasurer’s office appeared to have stopped in February.

She said equipment was missing including iPhones and iPads as well as necessary procedural manuals and all office supplies. Jones said she had to make an emergency run to buy office supplies when the transition began.

No refunds on overpaid property tax installments had been made or receipts issued for those who had paid, and numerous other tax tasks had not been completed since February, Jones said.

Dickinson did not return a call for comment on Jones’ statements.

“You hate to be negative, but it is what it is and we will turn it around,” Jones said.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said county staffers are pitching in to help with the transition, and that he was familiar with some of the problems Jones revealed.

“I’ve been hearing it, but some of the issues I had not heard. I knew she dealt with a lot,” Lazarus said.

“I think she’s digging in,” Lazarus said. “It looks like she’s uncovering some things that were maybe left undone and needed to be done and she’s getting on top of it which is great.”