Good Samaritans pay others' delinquent Monroe County property taxes
Jul 20, 2012 (Herald-Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
An anonymous benefactor has helped out an Ellettsville couple pay off their property tax bills to avoid a tax sale.
The day after a story in The Herald-Times about a payment plan Monroe County Treasurer Cathy Smith set up for the couple, a man who did not wish to be identified visited Smith's office to nearly settle the couple's property tax debt.
A check for $1,040.82 would keep the couple's property out of the tax sale this year, but the man paid $2,000, which is just a couple hundred dollars shy of all the couple owes on their property taxes, Smith said.
"I was embarrassed to tell him how far behind they were (on their taxes)," Smith said by telephone Thursday.
The payment plan Smith arranged for the couple required them to pay $94.62 a month for 11 months to avoid this year's tax sale, but did not cover all of the couple's property taxes in arrears.
"His deal is, he's trying to pay for his medicine," Smith said of the older couple who live on $700 a month Social Security check.
Smith said the unnamed benefactor read about the couple's plight in the Sunday newspaper, and wanted to help. While in her office, he explained that he had come into some money unexpectedly, and had planned to give some of it to his church, but decided to help the couple instead.
"It was wonderful. It made my day," Smith said.
"The man said, 'I don't want anyone to know I'm doing this, not even my wife,'" Smith said, noting that he didn't want a receipt for the payment.
"We got to see the nice side of humanity," Smith said.
And that gentleman wasn't the only one to help.
Another anonymous taxpayer -- a woman -- visited the county treasurer's office Wednesday to pay off the $58.61 a different couple owed in order to avoid this year's tax sale. That couple also had medical issues, and Smith was set to arrange a payment plan, according to the newspaper article.
"'They don't know me, I don't know them, and I want to keep it that way,'" the second good Samaritan told Hans Hoffman, chief deputy treasurer in Smith's office, who took the payment.
"Obviously, that's fine with us," Hoffman said.
And shortly after that woman left, Hoffman took a call from yet another person seeking to pay that couple's $58.61 tax bill.
"I thought it was great," Hoffman said.
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