The state has announced plans to change the way it requires citizens to pay for vehicle registration renewals and property taxes on those vehicles, which is going to cost Surry County taxpayers $80,000, according to figures from Rep. Sarah Stevens. This at a time when the county commissioners are scrambling to find enough money to balance budgets with what little they have.
Stevens has instead proposed a solution she believes, and we believe, could save taxpayers not just in Surry County, but statewide.
With the new collection process, coined Tag and Tax Together, both registration renewals and vehicle property taxes will be billed together and must be paid before a registration is renewed. The process that is scheduled to begin with May billings due in July will have the state processing the payments for the DMV renewals as well as the county property taxes, and then the state will charge the counties a fee for processing the taxes.
This seems to be an underhanded way for the state to get its hands on more money from taxpayers without actually raising taxes. The state will be charging a fee of $2.05 for each license renewal/tax bill processed by the DMV, and if a credit card is used to pay those bills, the state will charge the county $6.13 per transaction, according to Stevens.
In Surry County, that will increase the annual cost of billing vehicle property taxes of $25,000 to $80,000.
What Stevens is proposing, she said, will cost just 60 cents per transaction, and will involve Surry County taking the payments for the taxes as well as the registration renewals instead of them being sent to the DMV. This way, the county doesn’t have to pay the state for any handling/billing fees.
It seems Stevens’ plan, while not saving the counties anything on their existing costs, will drastically reduce the future expense to counties, and in turn keep taxpayers from seeing potential increases to taxes or fees to help fund the county portion of the Tag and Tax Together costs.
We hope other legislators will follow Stevens’ lead in having counties process the payments rather than the state DMV.