Senate President James Launching St. John Property Tax Taskforce

ST. CROIX — Senate President Neville James said Tuesday he along with the Legislature’s Secretary, Senator Myron Jackson are in the final stages of establishing a plenary council of Senators, Government officials and representatives from the National Park Service to discuss, analyze and make recommendations to the Lt. Governor’s office for future property tax valuations. The Senate President plans to appoint these individuals to the “The St. John Land, Heritage and Property Tax Task Force” whose duty will be to provide recommendations and a framework for coming up with assessments and real property valuations on the island of St. John. Senator James said the names of the appointees will be announced by the end of the week.

“Our objective is to get everybody back on the same page as it relates to comfortably paying property taxes. We have a situation on St. John where the December 2013 property tax bill is still in dispute. 505 property owners on St. John filed for an informal appeal on their valuation at the end of last year, and so in an effort to resolve this, property tax bills that were scheduled to go out at the end of 2014 had to be pushed back to early 2015. We’re losing time and money every time we send an individual out to reassess these properties and the people of St. John are losing their patience.” Senator James said.

James in his statement made reference to a recent case in V.I. Superior Court where St John residents demanded that a temporary restraining order be issued against the local government to stop it from collecting 2013 property taxes.

“The taskforce we are establishing is in no way meant to duplicate the services of the Board of Tax Review. The people of St. John believe the current methodology used to create the valuation models are flawed because they’re based on the sale prices of pricy vacation villas that surround them. I am inclined to agree with that position, my hope is that this taskforce will develop a fair and accurate model that everybody can live with”, concluded Senator James.