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Hampton Island still late on taxes
Liberty tax commisioner may offer one last chance
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Tax commissioner Virgil Jones was scheduled to explain a tax return request from Woodbridge Mobile Home Park during Tuesday's Liberty County Commission meeting, but commissioner Pat Bowen instead expressed interest in hearing about Hampton Island's late property taxes.
Taking into account accrued interest, penalty fees and principal, Hampton Island owes $667,647 in back taxes, according to Jones.
He said he would give the development another chance, which may involve issuing a concrete date by which the development must pay the sum or allowing Hampton Island officials to approach him with an assurance of payment by a certain point.
"They asked for an extension by letter," Jones said. "This is probably their third time, so it's really time for me to approach them or for them to come to me."
Bowen said he wants to see action.
"Why are we giving these people a break? ... We've got people really struggling to pay their taxes," Bowen said. "They're doing this to make money. They're not doing this just for the headache."
Jones assured com-
missioners Hampton Island is not receiving any preferential treatment, but
also said he wouldn't want to see the property go up for sale. It's a "good tax base for the county," he said.
"We kind of really want to work with them but at the same time, we can only give them so many times," Jones said.
Submitting partial payment could be an option, according to commissioner Eddie Walden, who said every little bit helps.
"We'd like to have
a little something," Walden said. "In these hard
economic times, they just may be able to pay a little bit."
Most of the delinquent taxes come from company-owned property - lots that have not been sold.
Hampton Island home sites range in price from $650,000 to $4 million, according to the coastal development's Web site.
Jones said the dev-
elopment was doing well until the latter part of last year, when the "bottom fell out" in the housing market.
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