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Franklin County collects nearly $1M in unpaid taxes from MVP contractors

(WDBJ)
Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 11:17 PM EST
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For Franklin County Commissioner of the Revenue Margaret Torrence, this story begins in 2018. Riding around the county, she noticed Mountain Valley Pipeline contractors had dozens of pieces of equipment lying around.

All of it was taxable property. But those taxes weren't getting paid.

"It's been worth the time that it took to pursue it," said Torrence.

Torrence identified at least 24 MVP contractors and subcontractors who owed the county unpaid personal property taxes. She began working to collect the money last fall.

Now, after months of letters, emails and research, she says those companies are finally paying up.

"We were able to bill, and collect, to date, $876,621.18. So that's a significant amount of revenue," said Torrence.

According to Torrence, 11 subcontractors have paid in full. Another 14 are either getting billed now, or have no address that Torrence can find. Two are officially delinquent on their accounts, meaning the county may soon take legal action.

"We could subpoena the company into the office," said Torrence, adding that she'll be consulting the county attorney soon to determine the best course of action.

Torrence's story inspired other area Commissioners of the Revenue to take a closer look at MVP operations.

"It was just kind of an extra eye opener for us," said Robin Goard, who serves as Commissioner of the Revenue for Pittsylvania County.

While Goard hasn't found any companies behind on their bills, she says her office will be paying more attention to pipeline contractors in the future.

"We just try to encourage people to make contact with the office, and that can prevent some problems down the road that you may run into," said Goard.

In Franklin County, MVP contractors and subcontractors still owe tens of thousands of dollars. The two companies with delinquent accounts owe about $62,000. Others owe thousands more.

Torrence says she'll continue pursing all of these companies until they've paid their bills.

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