By: Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer
February 21, 2013
Children in Elkin could use lights on a baseball field so they can make the best use of play in a safe environment, and they could also use a new gym floor in the recreation center also.
First responders in Elkin would like to replace the HVAC system in a fire house, and a Hurst rescue tool is needed for emergencies.
All of these items were pitched at the Town of Elkin retreat last week by department officials. However, tax delinquencies are making it harder to meet the wish list, said officials.
According to records, for the last fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, property tax revenue was the largest single source of Elkin’s general fund revenue, amounting to $2,086,887, or about 48 percent of the fund.
Over the last decade, the Town of Elkin has been averaging an above 99 percent collection rate on property tax collection efforts, records indicate. Those who fall behind often easily communicate with the town and work out a payment plan.
“We’re flexible,” said Assistant Town Manager/Budget Director John Holcomb. “The Tax Collector will work with delinquent taxpayers to establish a payment plan in which they can pay their delinquent property taxes in installments. We do however require that an agreement be signed by the delinquent taxpayer indicating they will pay a specific amount each month on a specific date.”
At the retreat, Elkin Board of Commissioners reacted to the delinquent property tax list by asking its town attorney, Raymond Parker, to gear up and get ready to litigate.
The largest culprit with the most outstanding property taxes due is Denali Enterprises, or best known locally as Spring Valley Apartments, owing $35,377.24 according to town documents.
Spring Valley hasn’t paid property taxes since 2010, according to records given by the town.
They’re not alone. About a dozen others have been delinquent since 2010, as per the records shown at the retreat.
An associate for Spring Valley said she knows nothing about past due taxes by Denali. She said it is against policy to give out contact information for its owner who may know more than she does.
“He doesn’t want us to give out any information on how to contact him,” she said.
Those who also do not pay property taxes still receive the same services from the town such as fire protection service, police service, road maintenance, and street lights for example, say officials.
“During the town’s budget preparation process, we estimate the amount of property tax revenues to be collected based on a projected tax base, an assumed tax rate and the prior year’s actual property tax collection percentage. All three of these items along with the town’s budgeted spending have an impact on the property tax rate,” said Holcomb.
Extra collection steps could include tax liens being placed on their property and the property being sold to recover back taxes, garnishment of wages, and attachment of bank accounts of the delinquent taxpayer.