FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors at its regular Tuesday meeting unanimously voted to continue using two law firms to collect the county’s delinquent real estate taxes.
The two firms, Pond Law Group and TACS, have been collecting taxes since August 2016. TACS is responsible for collecting from citizens with last names beginning in half of the alphabet and Pond Law from the other half.
Pond Law Group’s collection rates have been $205,952 in 2016; $391,656 in 2017; $200,794 in 2018; and $90,677 in 2019. TACS collected $45,966 in 2016; $131,383 in 2017; $230,643 in 2018; and $99,149 in 2019.
A supervisors’ agenda item states that both firms will keep 20 percent of the taxes they collect, which is allowed under Virginia’s state code. If the firm auctions off a property on which there were delinquent taxes, it will be granted a $2,000 fee that is paid out of the collected funds. If the sale of a property does not cover that cost, the county must provide the difference.
County Attorney Dan Whitten explained that the county amended its contract with Pond Law Group to state that it will collect the 20 percent fee when the collection process begins whereas it previously collected that fee two years after the fact. He said this amendment is in line with the TACS’ agreement.
The supervisors also amended each contract to state that at least 20 properties must be offered for sale during two delinquent tax auctions.
Supervisor Tom Sayre noted that “there are some significant changes” and asked Whitten if he would recommend discussing the matter in a work session before voting.
“I wouldn’t say this is a major change. This is in alignment with the agreement with TACS, which we’ve had in place for three years...but if the board would like to have a work session, we can do that,” Whitten said.
The supervisors proceeded to unanimously approve the new agreement as part of the board’s consent agenda.