Manassas Journal Messenger 04-26-01



tax delinquents to get the boot


Trina Goethals



Prince William residents who are delinquent in paying personal property

taxes beware. The county is working together with the sheriff’s office to

seize vehicles by placing a Denver boot on the front wheel of their property.

The programs have been up and running in surrounding counties, but this

is the first year Prince William has implemented the vehicle seizure, or

“boot program,” and the vehicle registration withholding, or “stop


In fiscal 2000, the county had a total of $26.6 million in unpaid taxes,

and although the number will not be as staggering this year, county officials

want to get the word out that they mean business.

“We have managed to collect a lot of taxes so far this year,”

said Steve Ferlotti, tax administration manager. “So the percentage

[of unpaid taxes] will be lower. But we needed this program so we can collect

taxes from people who we couldn’t collect it from any other way.”

Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Judy Burke said people with delinquent taxes

are notified several times by the county before their names are turned in

to the sheriff’s office in a distress warrant.

“If possible, we will go to the property and boot the vehicle that

the taxes are owed on,” Burke said. “These are people that have

not been able to arrange a payment program with the county. This is a last


Once property has been booted, the boot will remain until either the

delinquent taxes are paid in full or the property is sold at auction for

the payment of taxes.

When at a person’ s property, officers will try to notify the residents

and make instructions available outlining what steps can be taken to remove

the boot the same day.

Along with the boot program, the Department of Finance is working with

the Department of Motor Vehicles to withhold registration on a vehicle until

taxes are paid in full. The DMV will be notified under the stop program

if a taxpayer owes $50 or more in back taxes.

The two new programs will replace county roadblocks, where officers would

pull over motorists who did not have a county decal.

“Hopefully, if people know this booting is going to take place they

will make sure their taxes are paid,” said Burke.



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