06/12/17 — City council members hit with vehicle tax debt

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City council members hit with vehicle tax debt

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on June 12, 2017 7:08 AM

Mark Stevens, District 3

Antonio Williams, District 1

The Wayne County Tax Department has flagged unpaid vehicle tax bills for two members of the Goldsboro City Council.

Councilman Mark Stevens recently received a letter from the tax office requesting payment for nearly $400 in unpaid taxes for a vehicle in 2008 and 2009.

Stevens said he contacted the tax office the same day and has made arrangements to pay off the bill.

"I've already got it straight with the tax office," Stevens said. "I pay my taxes. I pay my bills."

Stevens was not aware of the delinquent taxes and was under the impression that his former wife had previously paid the debt. The taxes were assessed on a vehicle Stevens owned when he was able to drive.

Stevens hasn't driven for years, after becoming legally blind in 2009, he said.

"I can't drive," he said. "It was a vehicle when I was driving and my ex wife didn't pay the taxes. At the time, I lost my eyesight."

His vision loss resulted as a complication after being diagnosed with diabetes, he said.

County tax records show that Stevens owes $409.27 in vehicle taxes and interest fees, said Vicky Granillo, collection division manager in Wayne County Tax Department.

Granillo said Stevens contacted the office and made plans to pay off the bill.

The Wayne County Tax Department recently started garnishing Councilman Antonio Williams' council paycheck for failure to pay $248.84 vehicle taxes dating back to 2010.

Ten percent of Williams' wages will be garnished from every biweekly paycheck until the debt is paid in full, Granillo said. The delinquent taxes were recently found by tax officials during a routine check to clear out delinquent accounts.

The county tax office was prepared to garnish Stevens' wages if he had not worked to settle the debt, Granillo said.

"I did not know they existed," Stevens said. "When I find out I have a bill, I pay my bills."

Williams is the only member of the council who is having his wages garnished, said Scott Stevens, city manager.