WEST virginia legislature
2016 regular session
Senate Bill 27
By Senators Kirkendoll, Miller And Gaunch
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary; reported on January 27, 2016]
A BILL to amend and reenact §7-5-24 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §11A-2-2 of said code, all relating to permitting county commissions to hire outside attorneys to assist in collection of taxes or to represent the county before any United States Bankruptcy Court; providing for county commissions to limit fees to be paid to any attorneys so hired; providing for reimbursement of actual expenses incurred by attorneys in the course of representation; and providing for sharing cost of collection with various taxing units.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §7-5-24 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §11A-2-2 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
chapter 7. county commissions and officers.
article 5. fiscal affairs.
'7-5-24. Sheriff may commence civil action without paying fees and costs; fees and costs recoverable from defendants after completion of litigation.
will is not be required
to pay any filing fee, cost, bond or security, as may otherwise be required of
other civil litigants by provisions of this code, in any action in which the
sheriff commences the action in his or her official capacity or on behalf of
the county government: Provided, That where the sheriff or county
government prevails in the action and any filing fees, costs, bond or security
are recovered from the opposing party, the sheriff shall pay therefrom the
fees, costs, bond or security to the officer who otherwise would have been
entitled thereto but for the provisions of this section: Provided,
however, That any legal fees and costs not so recovered from the opposing
party shall be paid out of the taxes so collected prior to the distribution of
the taxes to the various taxing units.
chapter 11a. collection and enforcment of property taxes.
article 2. delinquency and methods of enforcing payment.
'11A-2-2. Collection by civil action; fees and costs not required of sheriff.
(a) Taxes are hereby declared to be debts owing by the
taxpayer, for which he or she shall be personally liable. After delinquency,
the sheriff may enforce this liability by appropriate action in any court of
competent jurisdiction. No such action
shall may be brought after
five years from the time the action accrued.
(b) In any such action, the sheriff
shall be permitted
may to prosecute the same without paying fees or costs, and
without providing bond or security, as may otherwise be required of civil litigants
by the provisions of this code, and shall have all services and process,
including the services of witnesses, without paying therefor: Provided,
That the sheriff shall maintain for each action for the recovery of delinquent
taxes records sufficient to demonstrate the total fees and costs paid and that
would have been paid but for the authority provided herein to seek recovery
without such payment: Provided, however, That where the sheriff recovers
delinquent taxes in or as the result of such action, whether by way of
settlement or judgment, such fees and costs as above required to be recorded
shall be recoverable from the opposite party and, upon receipt of any recovery,
the sheriff shall pay from the amount recovered such fees or costs to the
officer who otherwise would have been entitled thereto but for the provisions
of this section: Provided further, That the fees and costs shall be paid
prior to payment to the various taxing units of the balance of the recovered
taxes: And provided further, That the payment to the various taxing
units shall be prorated on the basis of the total amount of taxes due them.
(c) The county commission may hire an attorney to prosecute any such action for the collection of such delinquent taxes or to defend the county’s interest in any proceeding before any United States Bankruptcy Court: Provided, That any attorney so hired shall be reimbursed for actual expenses directly incurred in the course of the representation: Provided, however, That in any engagement of any attorney so hired under this section, the county commission shall enter into a written representation agreement with the attorney so engaged, which written representation agreement shall include, in the case of an hourly fee agreement, a cumulative cap of any hourly fees charged on a per-case basis or, in the case of a contingency fee agreement, a percentage cap of any money or things of value recovered in the representation. Any attorney fees or other costs associated with the collection of taxes, not heretofore provided for in subsection (b) of this section, shall be paid from the taxes so collected prior to the distribution to the various taxing units.