Jacksonville veteran fights with tax collector's office to save his home

The city plans to sell it next month over past-due fees.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - A Jacksonville veteran is facing the possible auction of his home in June over delinquent tax bills for storm water and solid waste fees.

Morrison Grimes said the property appraiser annual tax exemption notice gets delivered to his home without a problem, but receiving notices from the tax collector is a different story.

"I've never had notice for my storm water bill nor solid waste," said Grimes.

On May 15, a process server put him on notice that his home will be sold at an auction on June 21 for not paying past due bills.

Grimes, a disabled Air Force veteran, says his home is paid for in full and he does not want to lose it to an auction. When he was given notice about the auction the reason took him by surprise.

"I was delinquent, according to them, 6 and a half years and they're just now putting this on my door?" asked Grimes, "they never gave me anything between 6 and a half years ago that I was delinquent."

The bill has accumulated interest; what was an $1,100 debt is now $3,000.

"The city is making $2,000 off of me," he said.

Sherry Hall with the tax collector's office said the records show that Grimes was given notice. 

"We sent notice to the address on file," said Hall, "whether it was delivered to a home address or former P.O. Box we do not know, but notices were definitely sent."

Grimes said it was not a diligent effort.

"If they don't receive a payment from me for the 6 and a half years you would think they would mail it to my resident's address," said Grimes, "rather than to a P.O. Box which was deactivated 12 and a half years ago." 

Hall said Grimes was also placed on notice in 2013 when he redeemed a tax certificate. 

"We told him in 2013 he needed to correct the property address," she said

Grimes has resigned to the fact that it is an uphill battle. He said he tried to reason with the tax collector's office but is being told he owes the bill.

"I am going to pay the bill, " said Grimes. "I have no other choice."

Grimes said he asked for a waiver on the interest charges and it was denied.

"State law does not allow us to waive interest and fees," said Hall.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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