There was $3.4 million in unpaid property taxes as of the end of January, and the Sampson County Tax Office is sending notice that those who do not pay their taxes by the end of March will have their names published in April.
The unpaid property taxes on real property this year is $3,437,857.
“That’s about $173,000 less than it was last year,” said Sampson County Tax administrator Jim Johnson. “Our tax collection rate for 2015 is 89.5 percent, right where we were last year at this time. We’re on par to hopefully finish as high as we did last year.”
According to N.C. General Statute, it is the duty of the tax collector on the first Monday of February to report to the governing board the total amount of unpaid taxes for the current fiscal year that area liens on real property.
Unpaid taxes totaled $3,611,811.81 through the end of January last year. That was $230,000 higher than the previous year’s figure, however the overall levy had increased due to the 4.5 cent property tax rate hike instituted for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
At this time last year, the county was at 89.8 percent collection on real and personal property, up from 87.9 percent in 2014. That collection percentage improved, even though the amount of unpaid taxes was greater — again due to the $3 million increase in tax base in the wake of a property tax hike.
Upon approval of the 2015-16 budget, county officials said property tax collections were expected to increase by $580,728, with a 96.4 percent collection rate. That projected percentage increase is due to the expected collection rate of motor vehicles and the work of the Tax Office staff.
The board then sets a date for advertising unpaid taxes. The law requires that those names be advertised at least once between March 1 and June 30, and Johnson recommended advertising April 7, with a deadline for payment being March 31, 2016.
The Board of Commissioners approved those dates, which traditionally means the Tax Office will begin its garnishment program and “other means we use to collect unpaid taxes,” Johnson has noted.
Johnson has recommended the Board of Equalization and Review convene from 1-6 p.m. on April 19, 21 and 28. In Sampson, the Board of Commissioners serves as the Board of E&R.
According to state law, the first meeting of the Board of E&R shall not be held earlier than the first Monday in April and not later than the first Monday in May, and hearings must be completed on or before the third Monday following its first meeting or by July 1.
The meeting dates must be published at least three times and include the date on which the board expects to adjourn.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.