Crackdown on delinquent taxpayers in Hopewell

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Hopewell  has a new program to help collect millions its owed in overdue taxes. The city has hired two law firms to go after those who are 2-6 years delinquent. Their message, pay up now!

"They'll send out legal notices and give the taxpayer a certain amount of time to pay. If they don't pay in the allotted time then their property could go up for auction," said City Treasurer, Teresa Batton.

Wages could be attached, assets seized and delinquent taxpayers could also be sued. Right now, Hopewell is owed about a million dollars in overdue real estate taxes and another million in personal property taxes.

"Everyone needs to pay their fair share," said Batton.

Celia Bratisax agrees -- she owns a business in Hopewell and pays real estate taxes, as well as, taxes on her vehicles. Bratisax says if she has to pay so should others.

"I pay my taxes before they're due and everybody needs to pay their taxes. It's the law," said  Bratisax.

If you're wondering who's paying those two firms the city has hired -- well, those who are delinquent must cough the cash for that fee as well.

"What happens is a 20% fee goes on the delinquent account and that's added to the existing delinquency," said Batton.

As time winds down -- the city says it's optimistic people will pay up.

If you have a delinquent account you'd like to resolve contact the treasure's office in Hopewell at 541-2240.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.