Reported by: Dave Benton
Videographer: Chris Mazivanhanga
Web Producer: Dave Benton
Reported: May. 15, 2012 9:14 PM EDT
Updated: May. 15, 2012 10:57 PM EDT
EYEWITNESS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO C L I C K T O P L A Y
, Cabell County
, West Virginia
Legal questions are being raised about Huntington trying to shame delinquent tax payers by publishing names in the local paper.
It's called the "Deadbeat List" and council recently discussed whether it's legal to publish names of those who owe the city money in back taxes.
City Attorney Scott McClure said the city has around 10 million dollars owed to them by delinquent tax payers. The law prohibits debt collectors from publishing deadbeat lists to collect a consumer debt. McClure says he doesn't believe a back tax is a consumer debt. "I think it's a fee due to a municipal government to defray the cost of providing the service. I don't think we should publish names. However, we have never paid to have names published."
The city will continue to aggressively tackle delinquent tax payers, but will not request to have names published.
A new collections committee created by council will study the issue.