Scott supervisors grapple with county’s tax collection rate

Holly Viers • Jun 12, 2020 at 8:00 PM

GATE CITY — Scott County’s tax collection rate was a lengthy topic of discussion during last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

During citizen expression period, the board heard from county resident David Carter, who presented data on the county’s tax collection rate and how it compares to neighboring counties. According to his data, Scott County’s collection rate is around 91-92%, compared to 98% and 95% in Wise and Lee counties, respectively.

“What do these counties do different than Scott County does?” Carter asked the board. “Why does our county administrator, our Board of Supervisors, why do they have to do a budget based on 91 or 92% collections?”

An ongoing discussion

Last week was not the first time supervisors had discussed tax collections, and it wasn’t the first time Carter had spoken to the board on the topic. He also attended a board meeting a year ago to discuss the same issue.

In his most recent remarks to the board, Carter said he believes last year’s tax increase was largely due to the amount of uncollected taxes in the county. He added that he recently submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the treasurer’s office and learned that the amount of delinquent taxes in the county totals $2,442,507.52.

“I know that the Board of Supervisors, the county administrator, I know you all can’t force the treasurer to collect the taxes,” Carter told the board. “The treasurer was elected by the people of the county, and I think the citizens of the county are the people that need to put the pressure on the treasurer to collect the taxes.”

Board comments

Supervisor Danny Mann said the Board of Supervisors doesn’t have any authority over the treasurer’s office, adding that the tax collection rate has been a “thorn in our side for a while.”

“I don’t think 91% is acceptable; I never have,” Mann said. “I talked to the treasurer in Wise County. … They’re using every available option to collect taxes.”

Supervisor Stefanie Cruby added that she has the same concerns as Carter and other members of the board.

“There’s a bigger issue there, and I am concerned with that 91%, as well,” Cruby said. “That does concern me as a citizen, as a Board of Supervisors member and as a taxpayer.”

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