Tax debt of $20,000 let go

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 07:37 PM

Not all Henderson council members agreed with turning loose more than $20,000 in tax debt as not collectable on Monday.

Councilman Garry Daeke had the item pulled from the usually uncontroversial slate of consent agenda items for a closer look because of 360 tax debt write-offs under the largest category in the report: mass-abatement.

“I am very disappointed in this,” Daeke said. “I am in general very concerned that these will never be paid.”
City Manager Ray Griffin explained that the report came from the Vance County collections office, and the city is not in a position to collect on the debts.

“They are over 10 years old,” Griffin said. “Vance County can no longer enforce collection. For every year when the taxes get more than 10 years old, we will write those off.”

Councilwoman Sara Coffey joined Daeke in expressing regret that some are getting away with not paying bills that others who follow the rules end up having to bear.

“What’s to say they won’t have more abatements for 2014?” Coffey said.

The two registered what they knew would be largely a protest vote, calling out a “no” vote on approval of the tax releases and refunds measure.

Council members James Kearney Sr., Brenda Peace-Jenkins, George Daye, Michael Rainey and Vernon Brown voted for what is usually a routine measure.

Councilman Michael Inscoe was absent from Monday’s council meeting.

The largest mass abatement debt was $1,534.95 owed by Steven G. Poythress. Second-highest was $528.15 owed by Ronald L. Vaughn.

Less than 10 percent of the debts were for amounts of more than $100.

Owing just $1.02, William Pernell Lawrence had the smallest abated debt on the list.

Poythress, who no longer lives in Vance County, said that he did not know that Vance County might have had a tax debt on him, and that it would have to be related to properties he owned jointly in 2002 that now belong to his former wife.

“I have no clue, no idea,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s water under the bridge, because I am never going to pay it.”

Attempts to reach Vaughn and Lawrence were unsuccessful.

All of the abandoned debts were from the 2002 taxable year.

In other business, the council granted a bid award to G&S Contractors, Inc., of Louisburg for the Kerr Lake Regional Water System Warren County meter vault replacement project at $107,905.

Renewal of contracts for Waste Industries, Inc., for trash collection, and for Perk’s Lawn Care and Cordell’s Lawn Care, Inc., for landscape management services, also received the nod by the council on Monday.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.