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      Computer glitch gives Potter County residents a tax scare

      A computer error at the Potter County tax office has caused 290 property tax statements to show increased dues.

      Many county residents opened their statements this week to find their bills were hundreds of dollars higher. Residents like Frances Thompson who are living on social security were concerned with the numbers and contacted the tax office.

      "I just couldn't figure that the taxes on our property could have gone up over $700," Thompson said. "I just couldn't. It upset me so greatly. So, I knew I had to do something about it."

      According to Thompson, tax office employees were helpful in explaining what had happened. Information was transferred properly from the appraisal district, but a field that was not filled once it was in the system caused the computer to miscalculate the taxes. Potter County Tax Assessor-Collector Robert Miller said out of 70,000 statements that were mailed out, only 290 with a $12,000 exemption were affected.

      "We have been in contact with the group and they've already corrected the statements," he pointed out. "We'll be mailing out new statements with an explanation. Hopefully, we'll have those in the mail by Friday, maybe no later than Monday. So, those folks that are affected will have those statements- the new statements- in their hands by the end of the week."

      Miller added computer glitches do happen because there is so much data, but they are rare. And for those who have already paid their taxes, money will be refunded.

      "We're going to watch for those particular payments and we will either credit their account or we will return the payment to them and let them re-make the payment. Or we can just send them a refund after we take care of the payment."

      As for Thompson, she said she is relieved the problem is resolved. Paying that much in taxes, she said, would have put her in quite the bind.

      "I just felt like there had to be other people that this was happening to and I felt like somebody should let them know because there are so many people who pay their bill immediately upon receipt of it."