Strong Pushback Against June Property Tax Bills

April 6, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: In the following excerpts from a letter to Northampton County Supervisors, Exmore resident R.H. “Bob” Meyers documents numerous problems with the county’s decision to begin billing twice annually for property tax. The first installment will be due June 5, with a 10 percent penalty for taxpayers who miss the deadline. Meyers shares his conversations with County Treasurer Cindy Bradford and County Commissioner of the Revenue Anne Sayers, both of whom cited problems with the new tax billing system and said they wished it would be repealed. Meyers advocates an immediate resolution doing just that. 

TO:              Northampton County Board of Supervisors
FROM:       R.H. Meyers
SUBJECT: Mid-year Tax Billing

After talking to the County Treasurer, Cindy Bradford, and the Commissioner of Revenue, Anne Sayers, on April 3, several facts are clear relating to the currently scheduled mid-year tax billing:

BRADFORD: The twice a year billing will cost the citizens $20,000.

SAYERS: Actually twice-a-year billing results in three separate billings. The first and last billings have to be of equal amounts. This in itself knocks us back about 20 years when new construction was done as a separate billing. We worked hard to get the new construction done and in the system in time for the December 5th billing; the purpose was eliminating the cost in the supplemental billing.

BRADFORD: A non or underpayment in June will incur an immediate 10% penalty + interest on the unpaid balance.

SAYERS: True statement

BRADFORD: The potential June billing has created computational problems for many mortgage companies and generated thousands of irate phone calls to the Treasurer’s office from citizen mortgage holders who are required to escrow their tax payments monthly.

SAYERS: True statement not only for the Treasurer but we have gotten, and are still getting, many phone calls.

BRADFORD: The work required to do a mid-year billing creates an unnecessary workload for the Treasurer’s office for which they are not staffed.

SAYERS: The early billing also gives this office less time to get all the changes in ownership, etc., in the system.


BRADFORD: The unintended consequences of the mid-year billing were neither discussed or even foreseen when the decision to do the June billing was passed by resolution about three years ago or even in February of 2014 when the resolution was passed to postpone the June 2014 billing. Those consequences have come to light since the procedures required to implement this were put into action.

SAYERS: The governing body did not discuss the twice a year billing with any of the staff that would implement and enforce it.

BRADFORD: The Treasurer’s office would be very pleased if the mid-year billing would be cancelled permanently.

SAYERS: The Commissioner of the Revenues’ office would be equally happy to rescind the twice-a-year billing; it would take a great deal of stress off an already overburdened staff.

BRADFORD: Notification of the mortgage escrow companies is not a problem for the Treasurer’s office as one company handles transactions for over 500 lending institutions.

SAYERS: My office does not directly deal with the mortgage companies on the billing level but Cindy has assured us that it would be no problem.

BRADFORD: A June required payment is a particularly inappropriate time for the farming community that relies heavily on income from crop sales in the fall for sufficient cash flow to pay taxes.

SAYERS: I believe this to be a true statement.

BRADFORD: The early collection that some counties do in Virginia because of insufficient cash flow is not necessary for Northampton County and has not been for many years.

SAYERS: It was stressed by the County Administrator and the Finance Director, at several meetings, that most jurisdictions go to twice-a-year because of “cash flow.” That was not, and is not the case for Northampton.

BRADFORD: The Board of Supervisors could pass a motion at their April 6 meeting to have the necessary public hearing at their April 27 meeting and resolve to revert to the traditional December 5 due date as the only date for all tax payments.

SAYERS: This is true, and the Commissioner’s office supports this move. I intend to make a statement in favor of reverting back to a December 5 due date, if there is a public information/speaking period.


BRADFORD: The passing of that resolution would not adversely affect the Treasurer’s office and in fact would relieve them of a huge, unnecessary, and expensive workload freeing up that money for higher priority expenditures to benefit the citizens of the county.

SAYERS: It would also remove some of the stress on the Commissioner’s office in that we are also working on the 2016 General Reassessment which takes effect January 1, 2016. We are still working with the new software company to get the data conversion worked out.

BRADFORD: If any payment is made at any time during the year by any individual, including an escrow company, that payment is simply credited on the normal December bill.




2 Responses to “Strong Pushback Against June Property Tax Bills”

  1. Betsy Mapp on April 6th, 2015 8:55 am

    I sincerely hope the twice yearly billing is repealed. Good article.

  2. Floyd Smith on April 6th, 2015 1:00 pm

    I hope that the billing is repealed because some retired farmers get their rent checks in December so then they can pay their property taxes using the rent check.