Property tax auctions scheduled for Thursday on St. Croix have been postponed due to overwhelming requests from taxpayers still seeking to cure their delinquencies, according to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor. As of June 28, the Tax Collector has received actual payments, or commitments to pay, of over three-quarters of a million dollars in outstanding auction debt. With this level of commitment demonstrated by taxpayers, Lieutenant Governor Osbert Potter s exercising his discretion to cancel the auction so that other taxpayers in the St. Croix district will have additional time to pay, according to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
“This is precisely the kind of result that we want when we advertise an auction,” Potter said in a statement.
“The goal is not to sell anyone’s property, rather, the aim is to motivate people to communicate with the Tax Collector, so they can do what is necessary to keep their property,” Potter continued, adding they are pleased with the “incredible response.”
But he said delinquent taxpayers should be advised this opportunity is not guaranteed to happen again and “delinquent St. Croix taxpayers who continue to be delinquent will definitely be listed for the next auction date.”
Potter’s statement points to a section of V.I. law that allows the lieutenant governor to postpone an auction for up to 60 days. Potter said he believes that that there is good cause to postpone the sale because several of the largest delinquent taxpayers have either made payments in full, or entered into payment plans after making significant down payments.
He encouraged delinquent property owners to pay their overdue taxes or to secure a payment plan. For those people who have already registered, the Tax Collector will honor their registration fees for the next auction, or is prepared to provide a refund if a registrant so prefers.
For more information, contact the Office of the Tax Collector at (340) 776-8505 on St. Thomas or (340) 773-6449 on St. Croix.
Governor Potter, this seems like the right thing to do. Here is another thing you could do: seems to me that if someone moves into the house, then it is appropriate to reassess the house as “finished” enough to occupy, and the property taxes should be charged appropriately. It makes no sense to allow occupancy in a house that is assessed as “unfinished” because they haven’t painted it (and never will), or they have a roof intended to support building a second story, with rebar sticking up, which also will never be “finished”. This policy only encourages leaving these housed “unfinished” eyesores. This loophole needs to be plugged. No moving in without an occupancy permit, and reassess upon occupancy!