Some Maricopa County residents were left confused after receiving what appeared to be a delinquency notice from county Treasurer Royce Flora on Monday night.
With the subject line "Parcel Watch Notification - 1st Half Delinquent," some who had paid their taxes weeks ago were concerned that the email was a hoax or that the office had been hacked.
Viewer Vernon in Mesa writes, "I have receipts from Maricopa County and my credit card company that the taxes were paid October 11. Tried to call, but their telephone don't work. Scam or incompetence?"
Over the course of a couple of hours we tried calling the Treasurer's office and couldn't get through either.
One viewer who was able to get through says she was told the Treasurer's office was getting several calls from people with similar concerns.
Eventually Karen Smith with the Treasurer's office got back to us saying that the email was not a scam but a "routine e-mail reminder that goes out every year to ParcelWatch subscribers." After we asked for clarity as to whether or not the email had been erroneously sent to some tax payers she replied, "Please read the e-mail. The notice is sent out every year. The Treasurer will not respond to any more questions on this matter."
Maricopa county spokesman Jason Berry tells me a glitch in the phone system caused a big backup of calls. He says around 10:45 am callers to the Treasurer's Office began hearing an "all circuits are busy" message due to a failure of a piece of hardware. A workaround was implemented later in the afternoon to allow more calls to come through. Berry says "call center staff and volunteers from the Treasurer's Office will stay tonight until all calls are answered."
After our inquiry a message was included on the Treasurer's phone line addressed the confusion about the routine email and encouraged people to check the actual status of their property tax bill on the Maricopa County Treasurer Website.