Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pay your Personal Property Taxes or Get the Boot – Payday Loan Analogy – Video

Warning Notice

Warning Notice

Citizens delinquent on their personal property taxes can expect more than a letter if Roanoke City adopts the License Plate Recognition (LPR) system to instantly scan a citizen’s tag using an optical scanning type device. The vehicle’s tag number will be matched with a database to check if the owner is in arrears on their property taxes. Depending on how egregious the overdue taxes the owner could get a “boot” on their vehicle or even have their tags removed – anywhere and at anytime. First the owner would get a warning with placement of a notice pictured here.

Once the system is publicized citizens with delinquent taxes pay-up voluntarily,” said City Treasurer, Evelyn Powers. Owners do not want to take the risk of getting their tags removed. Those that have trouble paying can make payment arrangements.

Powers explained the current resources her department incurs now with trying to find citizens and their employer to garnish their wages. “They often change employers to avoid garnishment,” said Powers.

Powers explained how citizens who do not pay their taxes on time not only receive a 10% penalty but pay interest on top of that. She said by the time they make payments another bill is again due. This prompted Evelyn Bethel and Helen Davis to quip, “it sounds like payday lending.” That brought chuckles from Councilwoman Anita Price and Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea who heard Bethel. Payday lenders are accused of getting citizens into a spiral of increasing debt that becomes impossible to overcome.

The LPR system is used in other cities like Arlington. It is already being used by law enforcement to identify outstanding warrants. Even tollbooths use a similar system for charging usage.

Only in extreme cases would tags be removed said City Treasurer, Evelyn Powers. City Manager, Darlene Burcham, related it to the boot system already used in cases of an excessive number of outstanding parking tickets.

The one-time equipment cost is $25,000 and a temporary employee’s wages would be $13,435. It is estimated that at a minimum $100,000 in additional delinquent collections will be recovered annually. The program could start January 1, 2010. A pilot program could start as early as July 1. Video snippets of LPR and unanimous voice vote.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance

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