A computer glitch has placed false liens on hundreds, if not thousands, of homes in Jefferson County.
This glitch has caused a lot of trouble for the bankrupt county. Phone lines have been busy at the courthouse as property owners try to figure out what's going on.
The notice essentially tells property owners there is a lien on their property. And that of course is a statement that would certainly cause alarm, especially if a homeowner has paid what they owe the county.
County tax collector J.T. Smallwood says at this point, his office isn't sure how many notices were sent out. But even one, he says, is too many.
But he also says it's not a problem that comes out of his office.
Smallwood says the error is due to a glitch in the county's IT Department. That department has implemented a new software system, but hasn't had a lot of time to make sure all the kinks are worked out.
Smallwood explained that somehow data from the old system was dumped in the new system, but it didn't show up when trial notices were printed, only when several hundred final notices were printed.
But that's just one part of the problem. The other issue, Smallwood says, is due to the county's financial situation. It used to be that the county would use their own print shop to print the notices. But that shop had to be shut down and people laid off due to budget contraints. And that too, Smallwood says, contributed to the error.
"People don't understand when you lay off people from this department...there are unintended consequences. It affects another department and another department. And it's called the law of unintended consequences and when it hits, it hits," Smallwood said.
The bottom line is that Smallwood says there is no cause for alarm. If you did indeed have a lien placed on a house, the county would have sent several notices before this point. If they haven't, Smallwood says homeowners shouldn't worry.
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