Residents of the Heath, Johnstown-Monroe, Lakewood, Newark and Northridge school districts will have to wait until next year to have this year's overpayment of taxes corrected.

Residents of the Heath, Johnstown-Monroe, Lakewood, Newark and Northridge school districts will have to wait until next year to have this year's overpayment of taxes corrected.

Licking County Auditor J. Terry Evans said the Ohio Department of Taxation advised the county to wait until next year to correct an overcharge that was on county residents' bills last month.

"We'll reduce it by the proper amount next year," Evans said. "We don't like it any better than the schools. It's nothing we like to have happen, but the school districts were informed.

"We contemplated what to do and the department of taxation suggested correcting it next year."

During Monday's Northridge Board of Education meeting, treasurer Felicia Drummey said two situations created confusion among county residents.

To begin with, residents' tax bills showed a full year's taxes in the distribution section on the left-hand side of the bill instead of a half-year, as was the previous practice.

It didn't end there.

"Lo and behold, we learned the bills weren't right," Drummey said. "It's resulting in people overpaying their taxes."

Evans said the error is the result of a miscalculation for emergency levies in five county school districts.

"It's for emergency levies," Evans said. "Those (rates) have to be reduced each year. I had a girl in a (car accident) and she was still helping us do the stuff. She told another girl to remember to reduce the emergencies and that didn't happen."

Licking County treasurer Michael Smith concurred that the auditor's office gave him incorrect numbers, so effective rates weren't reduced appropriately for the five school districts with emergency levies.

"For a $100,000 home, depending on the district you live in, (the overcharge) would be $3 on the low side and $20 on the high side for a $100,000 home for the year," he said. "If you have a million-dollar home, it would be 10 times that. We have to figure out the in between."

Smith said the error doesn't warrant the state department of taxation asking the county to make corrections this year.

"It's a lot less than what some people may believe," he said.

Drummey and Johnstown-Monroe treasurer Tammy Woods have expressed concerns about how the error would affect residents who escrow their taxes.

"I encourage those who escrow taxes to look to make sure they're not overpaying this year or underpaying the following year," Drummey said.

Smith doesn't see an issue with escrow.

"It would catch up next year," he said. "Escrow accounts change annually.

"Most mortgage companies hold reserves in an escrow account," Smith said. "My guess is they won't see a change in monthly payment because there's enough in the escrow account. I don't know that this would affect escrow more than any other year. They ebb and flow every year. There's always a give and take with the taxes due."

Anyone with questions concerning their taxes can call Smith at 740- 670-5010.

Licking County residents can also view their tax bills online at www.lcounty.com/OnTrac/ then click on the TAX menu, VIEW TAX BILL.