City owed more than $913,000 in taxes

Published 10:42 am Friday, September 30, 2011


FRANKLIN—During Monday’s City Council meeting, Treasurer Dinah Babb reported that as of Sept. 16, the city was owed $913,744 in taxes.

This includes $392,121 for real estate taxes, of which $191,110 is carried over from tax year 2010; $415,558 for personal property; $12,367 for business licenses; and $93,696 for meals and lodging.

Out of these four categories, there are 195 taxpayers on payment plans.

“Payment plans are more important than ever,” said Babb, who added that her department works with the people.

Babb noted the number of people using credit cards to pay taxes has increased annually. The use of debit cards instead of writing checks has also drastically reduced the number of returned checks.

Because the city absorbs the cost connected with accepting credit cards, Babb said she’s negotiated a reduced rate with Suntrust Merchant Services that will save the city $4,000 annually.

Mayor Jim Councill questioned the fairness of the city continuing to absorb the cost for credit card users.

“Additional research is being done before going back to council for action,” Babb said.

In other matters, council members agreed to accept a grant of up to $500,000 from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for Franklin’s Neighborhood Stabilization program.

Donald Goodwin, director of Community Development, said several neighborhoods have been identified as most in need of rehabilitation. The money would be used to buy foreclosed vacant houses and make improvements. The homes would then be sold to eligible low- to moderate- and middle-income individuals.