Editorial: Not paying burdens everyone

May. 17, 2014 @ 11:19 PM

For the arguments about our economy improving, the listing of tax liens on real property in Vance County didn’t help.

According to Porcha Brooks, the tax administrator, this year’s listing and amount are about the same as her first three years in Vance County. Over six pages of Tuesday’s Dispatch print edition, there were more than 2,500 entries adding up to about $1.3 million.

Between now and June 30, as the county takes a look at helping the school system, the sheriff’s office and any number of other line items in the coming budget, that’s a number to keep in mind. We don’t have it.

Volume was so great, names and amounts seem to blur together. A handful of amounts were less than $5. Some were five figures.

Businesses of all kinds were present. The list included heirs, property companies, churches, the secretary of housing and urban development, even a country club. Even the elected were represented, notably a member of the Henderson City Council and a member of the county school board.

Different races and nationalities were represented. When it comes to taxes, there is no bias. Death is certain for all of us, and taxes will be levied — those are definitely two givens.

That everyone will pay their taxes? That’s another matter.

Those hitting the list did so because taxes became delinquent Jan. 7 and were not paid by April 30, when the list was compiled. To be fair, anyone paying between May 1 and May 12 could have been listed but no longer in arrears.

Citizens of Vance County have been fortunate. For five consecutive years, there has not been a property tax increase. Our other neighboring counties have not been so fortunate.

And we’re hoping for six straight.

With special funds included, we’re operating on a budget this year of about $51 million. As commissioners struggle to make the numbers balance, remember that extra million in the next six weeks.

Accountability and responsibility are a part of all we do. It doesn’t matter if we’re a pet owner, a landowner or own anything else.

There comes a time to look in the mirror and be sure we’re up to the task.