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Hall board wants teeth for mobile home tax rule
Other governments also struggling with issue
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The Hall County Board of Commissioners wants to figure out how to require mobile home owners to pay their taxes.

At Monday’s work session, Commissioner Scott Gibbs asked county staff to collect specific numbers and create an ordinance to enforce collections on the delinquent ad valorem taxes.

“We have no way of knowing if taxes are paid and how far behind some folks are,” Gibbs said.

Since the commissioners first addressed the problem at the March 7 work session, county staff have received several calls from other governments.

“I think a lot of counties have the same problem,” Gibbs said. “Everybody is interested to see what we will do for enforcement.”

Mobile homes are taxed the same as motor vehicles. When owners pay their taxes each year, they are given a sticker to display on the home.

On a recent ride around his district in North and East Hall, Gibbs saw two mobile homes out of about 100 that had stickers showing they were current on taxes.

“Some people pay taxes but don’t post the tags, and we have to give them a fine, just as you would get a ticket for not properly displaying your car tag,” he said. “An ordinance could allow us several methods to go after property owners.”
However, commissioners recognized several barriers to enforcement.

“We have four county marshals in the field, and they support code enforcement for all county departments,” said Nikki Young, Hall County’s public information officer. “Hall County doesn’t have the manpower to support issuing citations to the large number of delinquent mobile homeowners.”

Collecting taxes against a mobile home as collateral is also difficult, she added.

“The tax commissioner doesn’t have much recourse if homeowners refuse to pay their taxes because it’s very hard to sell a mobile home,” Young said. “Most delinquent mobile homes are older and on a rented lot, which makes collecting on a tax lien virtually impossible.”

In 2010, the county billed about $860,000 in taxes for 8,355 mobile homes, and by March 8, $190,000 in taxes remain unpaid. Mobile home taxes are due May 1, but commissioners doubt they will see any more of that money.

Gibbs estimates there are 600 to 700 mobile homes in his district and said bringing mobile home owners into compliance could boost the county’s general fund.

“We need to collect money real soon if we’re about a quarter of a million behind, and that’s just on mobile homes,” Gibbs said. “That’s also just for 2010, and some of these go back seven years.”