Residents charge supervisors, candidates delinquent on taxes; supers dispute claims

Published 2:11 pm Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two supervisors and 13 candidates were charged by a Carriere resident, Richard Crabtree, with being delinquent on their taxes, and the supervisors shot back that Crabtree’s information was incorrect and outdated.

At least one official also told Crabtree he did not understand the tax system in Mississippi and should educate himself on how it works.

Although he named the two supervisors, who disputed his charges, he did not name the other candidates during the discussion.

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But Crabtree plowed ahead with his allegations, although disputed by the two supervisors he named.

The following exchange took place between the board of supervisors and Crabtree at the Monday board meeting:

Crabtree: “I am a Pearl River County taxpayer. When some people don’t pay their taxes, it is an unfair burden on the rest of us.. .We have two members on this board right now who are delinquent on their taxes. In addition, we have 67 candidates running for public office right now and 13 are delinquent on their taxes.

“The  candidate delinquent taxes amount to $20,000 and the two board members are $1,350 in the hole. Are there any policies or procedures in place that prevents  … the individual to run for office, or a seat in Pearl River County government, when they are delinquent on their taxes?”

Replied board president and supervisor Ånthony Hales: “. . .If individuals don’t pay their taxes, there is a possibility of them losing their property if they don’t pay up. The State Tax Commission sets those requirements, and the Secretary of State sets down the rules for qualifying for office. We don’t set the procedures and rules, but we do have to follow them.”

Crabtree: “I just find it absurd when members of the board and candidates are delinquent.”

Replied supervisor Hudson Holliday, “Let me say one thing, Mr. Crabtree. You say that there are some who are not paying their taxes. There are some that have not paid them yet, and the penalty for that is one percent per month, which would be 12 percent per year charged them on their delinquent amount.

“And if you don’t pay, those who purchase those properties pay a premium when they are sold for taxes. The premium from the last tax sale was over $60,000. . .I don’t know what you are accusing anyone of, but it’s like me; I own property, and I have partners, that are responsible for taxes. . .What is the problem?”

Crabtree: “Is that leadership?”

Holliday: “What’s the problem? Tell us. The county is making money on this.”

Crabtree: “I am not going to mention any names.”

However, asked by the press to name names, Crabtree said, “Patrick Lee.”

“On what piece of property,” asked Lee?

Crabtree: “On Front Street.”

Lee: “I don’t own that property. That property was sold over a year ago.”

A tax official told Crabtree that the website off of which he got his data “is not current.”

“Why didn’t you pick up the phone and call me?” asked Lee.

“Right now I refrain from commenting on that,” replied Crabtree.

He then said Holliday was the other supervisor who was delinquent.

Said board attorney Joe Montgomery, “It is obvious that this gentleman does not know how the system works. Mr. Crabtree, you need to spend some time on educating yourself on how the system works. Most lawyers tell clients that it’s not going to be in your name for a year. . .That is just the way it works here. In Mississippi we tax a year in arrears rather than in the future like some other states. You are at least a year behind on any updating effort.”

“You can call me, and we will talk about it, and I will explain to you every bit of mine; why didn’t you call me if you had a question?” asked Holliday.

“Okay, I will do that,” replied Crabtree.

Said Hales, “I have been late on my taxes at times, but that did not take away from my integrity. I had problems and I caught up.”

Holliday: “Let me say something about my taxes. All the taxes that I am individually responsible for are paid. I have partners who might owe some taxes and my name might be on there, too … but properties that I am responsible for individually are paid and have been paid.”

Said Hales, “We can’t control who runs for office.”

Holliday is seeking the GOP nomination for governor and is not running for re-election as Beat Three supervisor.