Vaughn Ward has paid his property taxes in full on a lot he owns in Valley County, including a late fee of $34. “There are no excuses,” Ward, a GOP candidate for the 1st Congressional District seat, told Eye on Boise. “Within minutes after I found out about it, my wife called over to Valley County and made the payment immediately, this morning.” The move came after Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey reported this morning that taxes on a half-acre undeveloped lot in Cascade owned by Ward and his wife, Kirsten, were overdue this year and also were paid late in 2004, 2006 and 2007.
Ward said “there was some confusion” about the half-year payment and its due date, which was in December, but said, “It’s done, it’s over, and you know, I’m not making any excuses. It is what it is.”
Meanwhile, incumbent Congressman Walt Minnick’s campaign said Minnick may have paid late fees on his property taxes in Ada County in 2001 and 2002. “I haven’t been able to confirm that, but Walt remembers something like that happening,” said campaign spokesman John Foster. “It happened at the end of 2001, beginning of 2002, and he had a different deadline in his head than what was actually on paper. But it hasn’t happened since.” He added, “When people have very busy lives, whether it’s running a company or running for Congress, you occasionally miss things. But as long as folks make it right, I think that’s what voters care about. It sounds like that might have been what happened today, according to the news.”
Ada County Treasurer Cecil Ingram said late property tax payments and the accompanying late fees are “more common than we’d really like.” He said, “The main thing is we are held to the law, and the law says if you don’t pay your taxes, then there’s fees and interest attached to those particular payments. It is quite common.” However, he said, “We don’t turn those delinquencies in to rating bureaus; it doesn’t come out showing that you’ve missed your payment. … It does not affect a credit rating.” When property taxes are three years delinquent, the county moves into a tax deed process to sell the property for back taxes.