MAXTON — It’s time to drop the bomb on property owners who don’t pay their taxes, town leaders decided Tuesday.
The town’s tax collection rate averages 87 percent, well below the state average, Town Manager Kate Bordeaux told commissioners during their monthly meeting. The state average of 97 percent.
Angela Pitchford, the town’s tax collector, has used all legal means to settle the delinquent taxes, Bordeaux said. But there still are delinquent accounts.
The bomb Bordeaux referred to is Zacchaeus Legal Services, a firm that specializes in collecting taxes through foreclosures that the board voted unanimously to hire. Zacchaeus will initiate foreclosure actions for all parcels with delinquent taxes for no cost up front, Bordeaux said.
There are 69 parcels with large delinquent-tax bills ready to be handed over for foreclosure, Pitchford said. Another 100 will be added shortly.
“It’s like we have to drop a nuclear bomb to get some people to pay,” Bordeaux said. “It’s not fair to those who do pay that others don’t.”
The commissioners opted out of adopting an ordinance that would allow the sale of alcoholic beverages to begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday instead of at noon. The state General Assembly recently passed legislation granting the earlier Sunday sales, but leaving the decision to do so with individual municipal governments.
The commissioner also:
— Named Police Chief Tammy Deese Employee of the Month. Deese has led the Maxton Police Department for the past five years.
— Appointed Harold Maynard to serve on the town’s Tree Board. There still is one vacant seat on the board the commissioners need to fill.
— Appointed Gary Gallman to another three-year term on the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport Commission.
— Tabled until a later date action on establishing a town loitering ordinance intended to address panhandling.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.