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Vehicle tax collection method to change

WINTON – Pending legislation at the state level has forced Hertford County officials to tweak their property tax collection contract with local municipalities.

At their meeting here Monday morning, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners learned that the method in which the state will handle vehicle tax collections in the future will briefly interrupt the traditional four year contracts the county has with the six local towns to collect their respective municipal taxes.

“This (contract) renewal is only for one year this time around because of pending legislation in the (North Carolina) House (of Representatives) that changes the way vehicle taxes are collected,” Hertford County Tax Collection Gay Sumner explained to the board. “That new legislation is expected to be in effect as of July 1, 2013. My recommendation is to instead of renewing these contracts on a four-year basis like we’ve done in the past is to do them annually until we can learn more about this new legislation and how it will affect us.”

Sumner said the new legislation will shift the vehicle tax collection responsibility from the county to the state.

“The Department of Motor Vehicles, at their license plate agencies across the state, will collect the vehicle taxes for each county,” Sumner said. “The county will no longer collect those taxes.”

The state collection method, according to Sumner, will entail the vehicle owner paying the county taxes due on those cars/trucks at the time when those vehicles are registered each year.

“You’ll pay your annual registration fee, which creates a bill for county taxes due on those motor vehicles and the owner will pay those taxes at that time,” Sumner noted. “What we’ll be responsible for is collecting any old vehicle taxes still left in our system.”

“The state has been kicking around the idea of this particular legislation for a number of years,” said Hertford County Manager Loria Williams. “It appears that they’re closer than they’ve ever been to approving this and they’re letting the local tax collectors know that. Our budget reflects some of the things we need to do in order to make that transition.”

On a motion from Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer, the board approved the individual agreements with Ahoskie, Cofield, Como, Harrellsville, Murfreesboro and Winton for the county to collect the municipal taxes from those towns for a period of one year.

There was no change to the fee the county charges (two percent on real property and 1.5 percent on personal property) for the total sum of the taxes collected from each town.

In a related matter, the commissioners reappointed Sumner to a four-year term as the county’s Tax Collection as well as a like term for Deputy Tax Collector Tammy Eason. Both terms expire on June 30, 2016 at which time they become eligible for reappointment.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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