Boykins seizing vehicles for back taxes

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BOYKINS—Officials in Boykins have collected nearly $1,150 in delinquent personal property taxes since announcing intentions to seize vehicles from residents who were in arrears.

Now officials are considering booting vehicles to collect back real estate taxes, Mayor Spier Edwards said Tuesday. The Town Council will discuss the matter during its 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9, meeting at the town hall.

“I think it was a success since running the article (in The Tidewater News announcing Council’s intentions) in the first of July,” Edwards said.

The Town Council during its June meeting voted unanimously to hire Virginia Auction and Collections Co. in an attempt to collect $7,306 in delinquent personal property taxes. The tax is levied annually on vehicles, trailers and motorcycles.

Southampton County and the City of Franklin since late May have been working with the same company on personal property tax collection.

Treasurers send their delinquent lists to Virginia Auction. Using license-plate readers equipped with the treasurers’ information, Virginia Auction employees scan cars’ license plates in parking lots, driveways and streets.

Once the reader locates a license plate matching a delinquent account, the agent boots the car. A note is left for the owner to call the treasurer’s office to settle the tax account.

If payment is made before the close of business that day, the vehicle is not towed; the only cost is $30 to have the boot removed and a 20 percent collection fee.

If the treasurer’s office is closed, the vehicle will be towed. The towing fee is $200.

During Virginia Auction’s only trip to Boykins, two vehicles were booted and three were towed, Edwards said. As a result, $1,317 was collected from the owners of the five vehicles. In addition, $831 was paid since the booting program was announced.

Also since announcing the program, $1,600 in late real estate taxes have been paid, leaving a balance of $2,325 owned to the town.

“I reckon they woke up and said ‘I owe the taxes and I need to get them paid,’” Edwards said.

Southampton County Treasurer David Britt told the Board of Supervisors during its July 25 meeting that Boykins’ efforts helped the county’s collection efforts.

“Since Boykins began booting, we saw people come in,” Britt said.

The county seized 256 vehicles between May 26 and July 22, which resulted in payments of $57,276. A total of $293,859 was collected since the booting began, mainly from word-of-mouth.