Whether its water, electric or a credit card, most of us try to pay our bills on time. You don't want a late fee. But, as NBC12 Investigates found out, Virginia is not always the best at paying its bills on time.
For fiscal year 2011, the state missed the billing deadlines on $133,073,015 in payments. That cost taxpayers $33,969 in interest — more than the average starting salary of a teacher in Virginia or nearly the entire starting salary for a Virginia state trooper.
So, who are the biggest offenders? Public universities and colleges had some of the largest amounts of late payments last year. UVA and Virginia Tech had the most. UVA missed its deadline on $16,526,698. Tech paid $12,197,099 million in bills late.
But it was Virginia State University in Ettrick that racked up the most interest on its late payments. $12,377 in taxpayer dollars just given away.
VSU spokesperson Thomas Reed says that interest was accrued for one construction project on campus. He said the university wanted to make sure the work was done correctly before it paid the bill. He added, "Going by, double checking, making sure that everything is up to our standards and incurring a fairly minuscule amount of late fees in the process is really saving taxpayer money down the line."
He also argues the $12,377 in interest on a late payment isn't much when you look at the school's overall payments. "It's really a very minuscule amount. Six-one thousandth of a percentage. So, in other words, VSU paid 99.9994 percent of its bills on time," said Reed.
VDOT made more late payments than any other state agency last year, falling behind on $29,444,123 worth of payments.
The agency also racked up the most interest on its late payments: $15,424 wasted tax dollars.
"We are one of the largest state agencies. We also manage the third largest system of roads in the country. So, with that comes a lot of vouchers-a lot of billing," said VDOT spokesperson Tamara Rollison.
The state does monitor prompt payments and by law, requires all state agencies to pay 95 percent of their bills on time. In 2011, VDOT did hit that mark — paying 95.5 percent of bills on time.
"We are spending taxpayer dollars. We take that very, very seriously. We do everything that we can to pay our bills on time. We do everything we can to meet the law — which we do," added Rollison.
Other state agencies racking up interest last year on the taxpayer's dime? Here's the complete list for fiscal year 2011.
The Department of Military Affairs- $1,266.62
The Department of Conservation and Recreation- $2,063.86
Virginia Information and Technologies Agency- $16.42
Department of State Police- $8.19
The Library of Virginia- $ 105.05
University of Virginia- Academic Division- $260.00
Radford University- $14.00
Christopher Newport University- $105.58
Department of Rehabilitative Services- $12.00
Rapphahannock Community College- $113.62
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College- $20.75
Eastern Shore Community College- $13.02
Department of Game & Inland Fisheries- $435.34
Department of Forestry- $20.77
Department of Transportation- $15,424.56
Department of Health- $1.29
Southside Virginia Training Center- $250.84
Corrrections-Division of Institutions- $6.49
Western Region Correctional Field Units- $17.82
Division of Community Corrections- $22.91
Indigent Defense Commission- $8.99
Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth- $218.70
Department of Fire Programs- $345.00
Prompt Payment Agency Year to Date
Dollar Totals Fiscal Year 2011-May 2012 - link
Prompt Payment Agency Year to Date
Totals Fiscal Year 2011-May 2012 - link
Prompt Payment Late Payment Interest FY 2011-May 2012 - link
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