Oconee’s biggest taxpayer comes thru…and on time

Duke Energy, the largest Oconee County taxpayer, has satisfied its obligation for 2019 on time, avoiding a three percent late penalty that applies to property tax bills not paid thru yesterday. Connie Bellotte, the county’s chief deputy treasurer, acknowledged the receipt of the Duke payment which arrived this time in the mail. The check for 2019 amounts to $25.6 million, or 80% of the bill. For the last two tax years, Duke chose to exercise its rights to pay 80% while it appeals the state’s assessment of its Oconee County holdings. A decision on the appeals apparently will be made by a state administrative law court. In recent years, the giant utility has used electronic transfers to meet its Oconee tax obligation. This time, however, the check was mailed. In the early years of the operations of Duke’s three nuclear units in the county, Duke chose to have a representative deliver the check by hand. And, in some instances, there would be an informal ceremony to mark the occasion.