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JEFFERSON — Ashe County Tax Administrator Chris Lambert presented his tax collector settlement for fiscal year 2018-19 to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners during its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5.

In total, the Ashe County Tax Office collected $20,653,140.29 through 29,287 transactions during the 2018-19 fiscal year, Lambert said.

N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles payments in Ashe County amounted to $1,287,726.70 — a 99.4 percent levy rate, with an average of 3,000 transactions per month, according to Lambert’s report.

Three foreclosures were made last fiscal year, with 15 cases still active, some of which are abandoned properties, while others belong to residents who refuse to communicate and work with county tax collectors, according to Lambert.

“That’s the last thing we want to do, but sometimes that’s our last-case scenario to collect taxes,” Lambert said. “Communication is key. We contact you, you contact us.”

In the current 2019-2020 fiscal year, Ashe County Tax Administration is charged with collecting $20,722,153.26, according to Lambert, who said almost $2.6 million in taxes were paid by Ashe residents in July.

In the first month of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the tax department collected $192,000 in delinquent taxes, Lambert said.

“That’s up from all previous years,” Lambert said. “Delinquent tax collection is not the most popular thing to do.”

The board unanimously approved Lambert’s tax reports, and also approved a $10,000 bid to purchase 48 camping lots on 4.458 acres by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Larry Dix casting the dissenting vote.

“I think we can do better,” Dix said.

The property is on Three Top Mountain in Creston, has a tax value of around $96,000 and was previously owned by T.R.I. Properties before the county acquired the land in 2017.

Following the commissioners’ vote to sell, there is a 10-day upset bid period wherein anyone can bid above the $10,000 going price, otherwise the land will sell to Leonard E. Atkinson, Matthew L. Shepherd and Mathieu F. Robinson, of Jefferson, according to Lambert.

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