City admits mistakes made in mass mailing

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Was it a mistake? That's what Richmonders want to know after many received late fees on their personal property taxes. Many of you contacted 12 asking why you got a notice in the mail saying you owe property taxes from the last five years.

The letter went out to 64,000 in the city. Many of you are complaining it's vague and doesn't tell you why you owe the city money. One city council member is even asking for an apology from the administration.

The letters hit mailboxes in mid-August. Complaints are still pouring in calling the notice- outrageous, time-consuming, exasperating, and a huge waste of taxpayer money.

"You get this letter and then you have to disprove it? Well I don't have the time. I've got a restaurant and three kids," said Joe Driebe.

Driebe owns Joe's Inn. He says he can prove he paid his property taxes on time. He believes the city is trying to charge him for a car he sold in 2009.

"I'm hoping that they figure out that it's a mistake and check the records and the thing that amazes me is that, if this happened back when they said it happened why didn't I get a bill then?" asked Driebe.

People are not just calling 12, Councilman Chris Hilbert's inbox has been flooded, and he let the mayor know it this week.

"I thought that this was an inappropriate way to communicate with citizens that we reportedly serve," said Hilbert.

He called the notice - poorly worded, and rude. The mayor agreed. We took your concerns to the city's director of finance.

He says the majority of those billed do owe money. In some cases he says DMV records were not up to date, but in others, he says the bills were paid late. He apologized for the city's poor communication.

"We're going to provide more information in the mailing so the taxpayer can understand what it is we're asking them to pay their bill for. I think that is not an unreasonable expectation at all," said Eric Tucker, Richmond Director of Finance.

Now if you received this letter and you haven't heard back from the city, no additional action will be taken against you until the city responds. They're doing this on a case by case basis and they hope to get back to everyone by the end of September.

If you feel you got this letter in error, you're still asked to call the city at 646-7000. You can also send an email to

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.