For the second time in about eight months, the Tax Assessor has issued property tax bills. The latest one, being received this week, is for 2009. Back in August, the VI government began collecting taxes for 2008.
It’s a long, complicated, woeful story about why the territory – going broke every month – hasn’t been collecting taxes for years. It has to do with the VI’s paying a consulting firm $8 million dollars to do assessments which turned out to be explosively high. And were blocked in court.
Figuring half a loaf is better than none, the Governor finally said, “Let’s collect taxes at the old rates. (At least we’ll have some income.)” And so, that’s what he’s doing, playing catch up by issuing two bills a year. Eventually, they’ll bill for 2010 and 2011.
And here’s the good news.
The bills will be at the old rate, the same as they have been for five years or so. That’s a pretty good deal for homeowners.
It’s gotta change, though. Sen. Craig Barshinger, a St.. Johnian, has legislation to try and solve the property tax-stalemate. He’s proposed that taxes be calculated using the average value of similar properties on St. Thomas and St. John.