City of Chesapeake's Boot and Seizure Policy

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City of Chesapeake’s Boot and Seizure Policy

City of Chesapeake’s Boot and Seizure Policy

In the eyes of tax collectors, there are two types of people: those who pay, and those who do not. The city of Chesapeake, Virginia has recently joined the ranks of other localities across the region and country who are taking an aggressive approach toward individuals who do not pay their taxes. Influenced by the economic recession that is affecting the entire United States, these localities are resorting to non-traditional and often controversial tactics to obtain uncollected tax revenue. The new program entails placing a boot, or wheel lock, on an individual’s personal vehicle, and eventually seizing, or towing it away, until the past due taxes are paid to the City Treasurer. The city of Chesapeake’s “Boot and Seizure” program is proving to be as effective as it is controversial; however, certain aspects of the program have the potential for improvement in order to enhance the public’s perception.

Effective August 1, 2011, the city of Chesapeake, Virginia began utilizing a private contractor equipped with license plate readers to locate vehicles registered to owners who owe delinquent personal property taxes. Once the vehicle is located, it will be booted by the contractor. The boot is essentially a large lock placed around one of the vehicle’s wheels, making it impossible, or significantly damaging to the body of the car, to operate. The owner then has until 5:00 p.m. of the same day to go to the City Treasurer’s office and pay any past-due taxes in addition to booting fees. If payment is not received by 5:00 p.m., the vehicle will be towed by the contractor to a private storage facility. The vehicle can be retrieved only after past-due taxes and fees have been paid to the City Treasurer’s office (“Chesapeake boot and seizure,” n.d.). According to representatives at the City Treasurer’s office, the seized vehicle will be auctioned in as little as thirty...