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Bertie approves minimum tax measure

WINDSOR – Bertie County Commissioner set a minimum tax bill Monday morning.

At the behest of County Manager Zee Lamb and Tax Administrator Hosea Wilson, the Bertie commissioners approved a minimum tax bill of $1.

“We find that people will send in payment and leave a balance of five or 10 cents,” Wilson said. “It isn’t cost-effective to try to collect that.”

Wilson said he had checked and 47 counties in North Carolina have set a minimum tax bill. Of those 47 counties, 10 have set the minimum at $1 while another eight are either $2 or $3. Another 18 have set the minimum bill at $5.

“What happens, for example, is that a boat trailer which is valued at $100 will have a bill of 78 cents,” Lamb said. “That bill sits around until the person comes in or they just disregard it all together.”

The county manager said the tax department would spend 35 to 40 cents postage, even with the bulk mail rate, plus the cost of printing.

Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. said, “It’s costing us $1 to tell you that you owe us 50 cents.”

The ordinance adopted instructs “the Bertie County Tax Collector is directed not to collect the combined taxes and fees for Bertie County, due on a tax receipt prepared pursuant to G.S. 105-320 or a tax notice prepared pursuant to G.S. 105-330.5, when the total original principal amount is $1 or less.”

It also says, “the Tax Collector shall not bill the taxpayer for, or otherwise collect, such minimal taxes but shall keep a record of such minimal taxes by receipt number and amount and shall make a report of the amount of these taxes to the Bertie County Board of Commissioners at the time of settlement.”

Lamb said the county was exploring the possibility of setting the level higher than $1 but wanted to see how it would function before making that decision.

Commissioner Rick Harrell made the motion to adopt the resolution with Commissioner J. Wallace Perry offering a second. It passed on a unanimous vote of those present. Commissioner L.C. Hoggard was not present for the vote.