Lawrence County plans to begin fining mobile home owners who have unpaid registration fees that could be costing the county as much as $50,000 per year.
Lawrence County Revenue Commissioner Brad Henderson said the county will begin enforcing the registration fees on the delinquent accounts. He said the increased enforcement could bring in an additional $30,000 to $50,000 during fiscal 2022.
“And we could possibly collect considerably more in future years,” he said. “Mobile homes are supposed to be registered. You need a tag for it just like you do a vehicle. You’ll get a sticker or decal to place on your structure.”
Registration fees are between $50 and $500 annually, he said, “depending on size, age and location of the structure.”
He said initial fines are $15 and will increase with subsequent violations.
Henderson said the county has been lax the past couple of decades in enforcing the registration.
“If your neighbor hasn’t paid in 20 years, but you have, it’s not your neighbor’s fault, it is not your fault. That is more of my fault,” said Henderson, who was appointed by Gov. Kay Ivey to the revenue commissioner’s position on June 30, 2018, after longtime revenue commissioner Tommy Praytor retired in the middle of his term.
“We’re just tightening up the ship a little bit,” Henderson said. “We’re not pointing fingers at anyone. My job is to collect money that is due to the county.”
District 3 Commissioner Kyle Pankey said the registration requirement is not new.
“It’s not a new tax. It’s not a new law,” he said. “It’s been on the books. We haven’t been collecting, and people need to start paying.”
Henderson said inspector Jason Logston will begin making routine trips throughout the county to check for the stickers on the mobile homes. Henderson said his office is placing door hangers on the structures that lack up-to-date decals.
District 5 Commissioner Sonya Hargrove said mobile home owners out of compliance will receive a citation.
“I lived in a singlewide in the 1980s and 1990s, and I paid every year,” she said. “It’s no different than somebody paying property tax on their house. It’s money owed to the county. This money helps provide services.”
Henderson said property owners with mobile homes owned by other people on their land should inform his office of the owners. “If not, property owners will be paying a higher tax because the property will be assessed on the value of the land and structures,” he said.
When County Administrator Heather Dyar Rose brought up the structure registration issue at last Wednesday’s County Commission work session, Henderson said the software to record collections was recently installed and “I’m ready to start doing citations.”
Lawrence County residents who want more information should contact his office at the courthouse or call 256-974-2473.
Henderson said the money collected is disbursed to the county school system, the County Commission, volunteer fire departments and other departments.