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February 14, 2014

Delinquent business taxes addressed by Live Oak City Council

Bill for $506 comes before board

Live Oak —

The Live Oak City Council directed City Clerk John Gill at their regular monthly meeting Tuesday night to draft an ordinance that would classify delinquent business tax receipts as a code enforcement matter. Once changes are made, the city clerk would have the authority to send all delinquent matters to a magistrate for a solution.

Gill said the clerk’s office is responsible for the collection of business tax receipts, formerly known as an occupational license, each year and is also responsible for drafting a list of delinquent customers. The list is then turned over to the code enforcement officer and to the chief of police for them to encourage the people to pay their dues.

“What we have are chronic offenders who don’t want to pay, and there’s just so much that the chief of police can do to force them to pay,” Gill said. “The code of ordinance doesn’t go far enough to remedy this. I bring it to council and ask for guidance on how you would like to move forward with this.”

Gill suggested changing the wording to the code of ordinance and possibly send this matter to a magistrate and let that person decide on how to handle these delinquent accounts.

“The code as it’s written, does it provide a penalty?” council president Adam Prins asked. 

Live Oak Police Chief Buddy Williams said he spoke with Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister on possible penalties for delinquent customers.

“I don’t feel real comfortable going into a place of business and say you’ve got to pay your tax, and if you don’t pay your tax, we’re going to issue a warrant,” Williams said. “In fact, I’m not quite certain that it would be legal by today’s standards.”

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