STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 3:00 p.m. in the Board Room of the Land Development Building at 101 East Allen Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina. This was a meeting with the Henderson County Tax Collector, Terry F. Lyda.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chair Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Assistant County Manager/Interim County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, Staff Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present was: County Assessor Robert Baird.
County Tax Collector, Terry F. Lyda and the following members of the Tax Collector=s Office: Paralegal Darlene Burgess, Tax Collection Clerk/Office Manager Vivian G. Guice, Deputy Tax Collector Joan Sprinkle, and Deputy Tax Collector Carol McCraw all arrived a little late for the meeting.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance stating that the Tax Collector and his staff were not present yet but that we would go ahead and get started.
Staff had distributed the AHenderson County Analysis of the Property Taxes System@ for the Board=s review. Commissioner Moyer raised a question from page 10 of the report regarding reconciling of tax statement. Following some discussion, it was decided it was a moot issue.
There was some discussion about an audit and it was decided to put it on a future agenda as a discussion item.
The Tax Collector and his staff arrived and Darlene Burgess distributed notebooks AHENDERSON COUNTY PROPERTY TAX COLLECTION & FORECLOSURE WORKSHOP@ to all the Commissioners and David Nicholson.
Chairman Hawkins had requested of the Tax Collector and had received a listing of all back taxes for the past 10 years.
TAX COLLECTOR BOND
The Tax Collector=s Bond has previously been for $200,000. Chairman Hawkins asked the Board if they might want to increase the amount to $700,000. There was discussion that the bond be enough to cover any one daily deposit.
Staff distributed a list of the annual premiums for different bond amounts. A list was also distributed of daily deposits made by the Tax Collector=s Office. From this list it was determined that the maximum daily deposit for December 1998 and January 1999 was $2,359,000. The majority of their collections are checks. There was some discussion of the possibility of robbery and also the possibility of fire at the office.
There was discussion of additional information that could be included on tax bills. There are lots of possibilities. Other counties list information other than what Henderson County does.
It was determined that this year=s bills are already being printed so any changes in information on the tax bills would have to be in the next cycle.
Commissioner Ward would like to see a breakdown of money going to different areas such as:
David Nicholson stated that counties in North Carolina do not set individual levies. Following much discussion, there was Board consensus to include more information on the tax bills next time. David, Robert, Terry, and Carey will meet and discuss how to present the information and will bring a recommendation back to the Board of Commissioners by the mid-month November meeting, November 17, 1999. The Board wants it to show a breakdown of property tax money.
There was some discussion regarding timing of the Advertisement Lien and the possibility of moving it up a few months.
There was discussion regarding responsibility for mailing out bills and the cost. Terry explained that his office is responsible for the postage.
There was some brief discussion regarding recent legislation reference use of credit cards (Senate Bill 222) to pay taxes by Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover.
There was discussion of the processing of payments at year end using the lock box system and using credit cards as well as some discussion regarding partial payments. Currently the tax office accepts partial payments, as little as someone wishes to pay on their taxes is accepted. There is no set percentage or amount.
There was some discussion concerning the Christmas holidays, the last week in December and the first week in January and staffing concerns. There is a need for some additional staff temporarily during this time.
Terry Lyda informed the Board that until last year, Henderson County was #7 in percentage of taxes collected, last year we were #5 in the State.
Gaston County allows their residents to pay ten equal monthly payments. November and December are used to then pay a balance or get a refund, if needed. They only have 75 participants who are taking advantage of this new procedure.
There was discussion regarding methods of collection i.e. levy, attachment and garnishment of wages. Following much discussion, Commissioner Moyer asked for a legal opinion as to whether or not the Tax Collector must use levy, attachment, or garnishment. Following discussion, it was the consensus of the Board for staff to use every means at its disposal to collect taxes. Ms. Beeker asked to have some time to research this and report back to the Board at the regular meeting scheduled for tomorrow, August 18, 1999.
Terry Lyda was asked to examine his internal operations to determine if there was a way to facilitate quicker bank deposits of monies received.
Angela Beeker asked a number of questions of Terry Lyda and then informed the Board that they might wish to discuss liability in closed session tomorrow (August 18 Commissioners= meeting) with their council, the Interim County Attorney.
Monthly reports are required by the statutes. The Board would like to see the following on monthly reports in the future:
Separate motor vehicles/real property
List % collections from Jan. Report forward
List discoveries separately
Details of efforts to collect
Comparison of collection rates vs. last year
Commissioner Ward thanked Terry for the work he has done in the past telling him his work has been appreciated. He reminded the Board and those in attendance that Terry received the Tax Collector of the Year award this past year.
There was some brief discussion of mortgage type foreclosure versus in reim foreclosure. Henderson County uses in reim foreclosure.
Chairman Hawkins adjourned the meeting at 4:50 p.m.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman