Inching upwards

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WINDSOR – The tax collection rate in Bertie County increased for the 11th consecutive year in 2010-11.

Monday night, Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb reported the tax collection rate for the last fiscal year to the commissioners. Last year’s rate rose slightly to 96.34 percent, up from 96.09 percent a year ago.

“When I got here, one of the things I was charged with was improving the tax collection rate,” he said. “Thanks to the efforts of the tax office the tax collection rate has increased every year.”

Lamb said Tax Administrator Hosea Wilson and his staff had worked diligently with tax collection, implementing new policies to collect taxes owed the county. He also credited the Bertie County IT Department for generating many letters in an attempt to collect taxes.

The county’s tax collection rate dipped to an all-time low in 1999-2000 when only 88.59 percent of the taxes owed the county were collected. It rose sharply over the next two years moving to 90.67 percent and then 92.35 percent. Since that time, it has risen steadily and reached more than 95 percent in 2006-2007.

At the same time the tax collection rate has been increasing, the delinquent taxes owed to the county have understandably decreased.

In 1999-2000, the county was owed more than $1.3 million in back taxes. That number decreased to $1.2 million the next year and dropped below $1 million ($971,000) as of June 30, 2004.

The taxes owed have continued to drop until reaching just over $620,000 as of June 30 of this year.

Bertie County Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III congratulated the tax department and others involved in helping increase the tax collection to the county.

“Thank you to the tax department and others for your hard work,” he said.