Official’s car registered in N.C.

Published 9:55 am Friday, September 14, 2012

COURTLAND—A BMW driven by Southampton County’s assistant administrator is not registered in Virginia more than a year after he was hired, records show.

Jon Mendenhall’s BMW parked outside his home at Country Villa on Delaware Road near Southampton County Fairgrounds. -- DAVID RUDZIK/TIDEWATER NEWS

Assistant County Administrator Jon Mendenhall violated a state law that requires permanent or temporary residents of the state to register their vehicles.

If the BMW were registered in Virginia, Mendenhall would owe hundreds of dollars in personal property taxes to Southampton County.

Mendenhall, a resident of Country Villa Apartments who began working for county government 16 months ago, did not return repeated telephone calls from The Tidewater News seeking comment.

According to Randolph County, N.C., tax records, the 2005 BMW 325I sedan is registered to Mendenhall in his boyhood home of Trinity, N.C., near Greensboro, about 3½ hours from Courtland. He paid taxes on it there in 2009, 2010 and 2011. On Wednesday, he paid $100.83 in 2012 taxes that were due Sept. 1.

The vehicle has an appraised value of $11,900 on Randolph County’s tax rolls.

Southampton County Treasurer David Britt said Mendenhall did not pay personal property taxes in the county last year.

The county’s tax rate is $5 for every $100 of a vehicle’s assessed value. Mendenhall would owe $595 in personal property taxes to Southampton County if the vehicle were registered here and assessed at the same amount it is valued in North Carolina.

Virginia law requires new residents to register their vehicles within 30 days or face a $30 fine if stopped by police. The law also requires residents to obtain a Virginia driver’s license within 60 days.

The county is notified by the Department of Motor Vehicles when someone registers a vehicle so that the person can be billed for personal property taxes.

A non-resident temporarily living in Virginia may drive with his home-state driver’s license and license plates for no more than six months.

The fine is $30.

Mendenhall’s BMW, which bears North Carolina license plates, was photographed during business hours this week at the Southampton County government building and after hours at Country Villa Apartments on Delaware Road, near the Southampton County Fairgrounds. Several sources confirmed that Mendenhall lives there.

Dallas Jones, chairman of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, said no one had brought the matter to his attention.

“I think when he gets a permanent address he (will register it),” Jones said.

Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike said he’s been aware of the matter.

“It’s the good-ole-boys network,” Updike said. “It’s common knowledge.”

He said there’s nothing the board can do about it; it’s up to police to enforce the law.

Maj. Gene Drewery of the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office said he was unaware of the issue.

“I don’t have a clue about it at this time,” Drewery said. “Nobody has called us about it.”

Mendenhall began working for the county on April 25, 2011, at a salary of $65,144 annually. He was the former director of engineering services for the City of Albemarle, N.C.

Mendenhall replaced Jay Randolph, who resigned in September 2010 to become the administrator for Lunenburg County.

County supervisors filled the position despite County Administrator Mike Johnson saying it wasn’t needed.

Mendenhall is not registered to vote in Southampton County, according to an election office spokeswoman.