Robesonian

Property co-owned by board chairman delinquent on taxes

LUMBERTON — The taxes on a piece of property that belongs to a business that is listed as being co-owned by the chairman of the Robeson County Board of Commissioners has not been paid more than six months past the deadline for which penalties are assessed.

A deed for the property at 2411 Oak St. in Lumberton shows it is owned by LOC Properties, and the deed lists Raymond Cummings, the chairman of the county board, and Chris Oxendine and Trent Locklear as buying it in December 1997.

The property is on the tax books at having a value of $278,500. As of Wednesday, the tax debt on the property was $2,396.16, according to the Tax Office. Property taxes for 2017 became delinquent on Jan. 8, at which time a late fee of 2 percent is assessed. At the beginning of each new month, an additonal three quarters of 1 percent late fee is added.

The address on the notice is 2460 Whistling Rufus Road, Pembroke, which is Cummings’ home address and where late notices would be mailed.

The property was included in a list of notices of delinquent tax notices published in the Robeson Journal on May 23. The Robesonian has learned that the relatives of two commissioners were omitted from that list. The Robesonian has not been told details of how that happened, but has been told that the practice is not new.

Cummings and fellow Commissioner Roger Oxendine were late paying some of their personal property taxes for 2017, paying them in February, shortly after The Robesonian contacted County Manager Ricky Harris and said it would withhold doing a story if the taxes got paid. They were paid shortly thereafter.

During the Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, Cummings defended his late payment, saying essentially that his mother had passed recently and it was an oversight. His mother died about a week after the taxes were already delinquent and about a month before they were paid..

On Wednesday afternoon, The Robesonian sent an email to Harris advising him a story about the Oak Street delinquency would be in Thursday’s newspaper, and if Cummings wished to comment he could send an email to the newspaper. The newspaper had not received an email when this was published.

The taxes for the Oak Street property have been paid after the tax deadline every year since 2009 except one, and that was for the 2012 tax year.

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Staff report