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"No," he said. He told me that $1.10 was below the cutoff point.
I was like, OK, I'll bite: "Well," I asked, "what's the cutoff point?"
"$30," he said to my amazement.
The big question I had was this: Am I, with my $30 outstanding balance, really the biggest fish the Guilford County Tax Department has to fry? I mean, if you ask me, $30 that just went past due is still in "friendly reminder" territory.
So all that is strange enough, but the thing that was really bothering me the whole time is something I haven't mentioned yet; it was something I have reported on in detail.
In 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 another Guilford County citizen High Point developer Wayne McDonald owed tens of thousands of dollars in taxes to the county that, in some cases, was years past due. I'm not talking about $30 a couple of months past due. I'm not talking about $300 or $3,000 that was six months past due. I'm talking about tens of thousands of dollars owed to the county for years in back taxes.
Now, a couple of years ago, Guilford County bought a building from McDonald. They paid him the price he asked for without any attempt to negotiate, and just about everyone in Guilford County government along with everyone who looks through the list of people who owe past due property taxes in the newspaper knew that the county, year after year, had trouble collecting property taxes from McDonald.
According to records in the Guilford County Finance Department and the Guilford County Property Management Department, McDonald, who was good friends and a former business associate of former Commissioner Steve Arnold the commissioner who was pretty much running the county in 2010 was paid $6.9 million in July 2010 for the building, with a final payment of $32,000 in November 2010. At the time the county cut him a check for $32,000, McDonald was delinquent on well over $100,000 in back taxes to Guilford County.
So I guess that had something to do with my surprise: They were coming after my $30 with a vengeance. But in 2010, this guy owed the county over a $100,000, and they cut him checks for millions of dollars without even taking out the money he owed.
So here's my question: Don't you think that a county government that had hit someone with a 200 percent penalty for a $30 tax bill and had begun the process to garnish that person's wages would certainly stop handing over checks to someone who owed over $100,000 in back taxes? Wouldn't you think that a county so gung ho about collecting taxes would have taken the money off the top before cutting those checks?
I would think so.
So I must be missing something.