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Greene County repeals dog tax

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By BRENDA MONTY
The Standard Laconic

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

SNOW HILL — Greene County property owners will no longer have to pay an annual tax to own a dog beginning on Jan. 1.

The existing tax is $1 for male dogs and $2 for females.

Commissioner Susan Blizzard proposed a repeal of the tax during a Greene County Board of Commissioners meeting last week.

“One of the reason is the burden of our tax department having to figure out who to tax and how to tax them based on how many dogs they have,” Blizzard said, adding the ordinance is not enforced.

The tax also is not fair, she said, because it is levied only on listed property owners and does not apply to other animals owned by a county resident.

“If they are a renter and have no personal property, they do not list their dog,” Blizzard said. “They don’t come to (the county tax collector’s) office and say, ‘I’ve got one dog. You need to charge me tax on it.’”

During the last six years, Greene County has collected $9,500 from the dog tax, averaging $1,585 a year.

“That burden on the tax department is not sufficient to have this tax on dogs only,” Blizzard said.

Pitt and Wayne counties have eliminated their dog taxes, Blizzard said. State law allows for an animal tax, but not a dog-only tax.

“The county may levy an annual license tax on the privilege of keeping dogs and other pets within the county,” according to N.C. Statute 153A-153, which was enacted in 1973.

“This is old law on the books,” Blizzard said. “We can’t even figure out when it was started in Greene County or why and why it was only dogs.”

County Attorney Borden Parker told Blizzard there was no need to wait on her proposal. A motion could be introduced and passed immediately, Parker said.

“In Wayne County, the county manager who recommended getting away from the tax was the former tax collector there,” Parker said. “He said it cost a whole lot more to even think about collecting it. The board over there agreed and did away with it.”

“It is not a fair tax, and that is one thing we try to be,” said Becky Sutton, the county tax collector. “We are basically penalizing the people who are honest to tell us about that one little puppy they have at home.”

Blizzard made the motion to repeal the dog tax effective Jan. 1, which Commissioner Jerry Jones seconded. It passed unanimously.

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