McKeesport to get aggressive on Taxes

McKeesport to get aggressive on Taxes

Posted in the McKeesport Forum

Per Daily Snooze Part 1

Mckeesport, PA

#1 Feb 21, 2012
With the hope of improving city finances, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko is holding true to a campaign promise that committed city staff to the aggressive collection of delinquent taxes and fees.
According to records at McKeesport City Hall,$961,830.25 is owed in delinquent municipal service fees for 2010, 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. Also,$464,538.44 is owed in 2011 real estate taxes at a penalty rate.
The municipal service fee is $70 per quarter and is assessed for garbage collection, police and fire protection. The two-tiered property tax rate is 4.26 mills on buildings and 16.5 mills on land.
At city hall, a list of property owners who are delinquent in paying municipal service fees includes a number of uncollectible listings, lien tax clerk Rosemary Breda said. However, she said the delinquent property tax listing is accurate and includes only current property owners who can be notified.
Cherepko said his administration is committed to going after what Breda believes is collectible, rather than passing the buck to Keystone Municipal Collections and resorting to the routine imposed on uncollectible listings.
"We're trying to be as aggressive as possible so that when we do turn these collections over to Keystone, the amount hopefully will be smaller than it was in previous years," Cherepko said. "We are taking a proactive approach. It's not fair to our responsible taxpayers that certain individuals are consistently delinquent."
Cherepko says he refuses to raise taxes and fees to compensate for a significant amount of outstanding balances.
"Due to our current financial situation, it is imperative that we collect the money that is owed to this city so that we can stay on budget and maintain the level of services we provide," city administrator Matt Gergely said.
The city is operating on a $17.9 million budget, which because of action earlier this month includes a $500,000 transaction to pull money into the general fund " an administrative financial move council believed had been covered prior to the budget's passing.
In his mayoral campaign platform, Cherepko committed to aggressive tax collection. And less than two months after taking office, the mayor has McKeesport's police force on board.
Officers are stepping in to notify property owners of delinquent tax matters that have been recognized by Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.
"When the fees reach a violation of a city ordinance, payment is forwarded to the district court," police Chief Bryan J. Washowich said. "If the magistrate issues a warrant for a violation, that warrant is then served by the police department. An official notice is posted on the defendant's door, reminding them of the nature of the warrant."
Posting is not required by law, but it is being done as a courtesy.
"Visits to the defendant's home are logged in the event that the police department would have to make a physical arrest for failure to comply," Washowich said.
Cherepko commended the chief and his department for going above and beyond their regular scope of duty.
Enemy of Pilfery

Pittsburgh, PA

#3 Feb 21, 2012
What this article really says:

As to why the Collection Agencies will no longer take past dues from McKeeesport. After paying the City the fraction of the face value, they have learned from long experience that they will have no luck finding or getting the debtor to pay. In other words, they told the City to take an airborne copulation at a tumbling confection.

The police of McKeesport, satisfied that crime has been eliminated in the City -- no more drugs are being sold, prostitution is at an end, and mayhem has been curtailed -- will now go around intimidating the populace to pay back taxes and fees for all the good work they do. I am writing the press releases now...

Finally, who will represent the City at the hearings in front of their bag boy Riazzi?
The law is clear. All corporations, including City Governments must be represented by legal council (lawyers) in court. Hope Elash is out of rehab by then.

All of this to avoid receivership and the likely forensic audit that will send more than a few of them to Federal Prison.
Good Start on Taxes

Mckeesport, PA

#4 Feb 21, 2012
A good example would be to start with the solicitor elect. He owes on everthing. one stop shopping should work.
Crack Down

Dravosburg, PA

#5 Feb 21, 2012
A good person to make sure is current with all of his city tax obligations would be the solicitor.
Deadbeats

Bay Shore, NY

#6 Feb 21, 2012
He can start by collecting on his friends and supporters who think they are above paying taxes.
John Q Portman

Pittsburgh, PA

#7 Feb 21, 2012
What would you say to someone who has never paid 1 cent of McKeesport City taxes, and has lived there his entire life. Owned his own business and had rental property, never paid a dime of income tax on his rental, then Pittman had the house torn down when it fell into ruin at no cost to the owner. State took funds to collect back unemployment taxes withheld but never paid, and put him out of business. Bilking the "city" of literally tens of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years.. That is what you get here in the Port!!
The Fix 4 Votes

Mckeesport, PA

#8 Feb 21, 2012
John Q Portman wrote:
What would you say to someone who has never paid 1 cent of McKeesport City taxes, and has lived there his entire life. Owned his own business and had rental property, never paid a dime of income tax on his rental, then Pittman had the house torn down when it fell into ruin at no cost to the owner. State took funds to collect back unemployment taxes withheld but never paid, and put him out of business. Bilking the "city" of literally tens of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years.. That is what you get here in the Port!!
Where were the city consigliere and the delinquent tax collector on this one? Both are sympathetic with MDC and JB and their friends get a pass sanctioned by JB.
Concerned tax payer

Pittsburgh, PA

#9 Feb 21, 2012
Does McKeesport have an amusement tax for events run inside the city for profit?
KGB

Mckeesport, PA

#10 Feb 21, 2012
John Q Portman wrote:
What would you say to someone who has never paid 1 cent of McKeesport City taxes, and has lived there his entire life. Owned his own business and had rental property, never paid a dime of income tax on his rental, then Pittman had the house torn down when it fell into ruin at no cost to the owner. State took funds to collect back unemployment taxes withheld but never paid, and put him out of business. Bilking the "city" of literally tens of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years.. That is what you get here in the Port!!
Who be dat person?
Curious

Dravosburg, PA

#11 Feb 21, 2012
Concerned tax payer wrote:
Does McKeesport have an amusement tax for events run inside the city for profit?
Who would be doing that?
Now you C it now U dont

Mckeesport, PA

#12 Feb 21, 2012
Concerned tax payer wrote:
Does McKeesport have an amusement tax for events run inside the city for profit?
Do you mean like the covert retail tire business or romper room productions?
Taxes

Wexford, PA

#13 Feb 22, 2012
Ex-McKeesport solicitor confirms he faces federal liens

By Patrick Cloonan, MCKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
Friday, March 4, 2011

The attorney removed by Mayor Regis T. McLaughlin as McKeesport solicitor, J. Jason Elash, confirmed that he faces liens totaling almost $120,000 from the Internal Revenue Service.

Elash also confirmed that he recently paid off other past city, school district and state tax bills.

We argued about it for quite a few years, Elash said Wednesday, two days after the IRS posted with Allegheny County authorities liens of more than $120,000 against the McKeesport attorney and his wife.

Rather than litigating, I'm trying to get my final payment plan approved, Elash said. I'm in the process of working out the arrangement.

It isn't that he didn't pay any taxes during the period in dispute, from 2004-2009.

Taxes were paid each and every year, Elash said. I'm hoping to get it paid off as soon as humanly possible.

He said he also put other tax affairs in order.

I've paid in full the city, the school district, the state, Elash said. I've paid all of those off over the past week.

However, he also acknowledged, its difficult when you lose 90 percent of your income.

Elash served as an attorney for city council during the administration of Mayor Wayne Kucich, then became city solicitor under Mayor James Brewster.

McLaughlin removed Elash as city attorney Dec. 31 but at a reorganization meeting a few days later McLaughlins successor as council president, Michael Cherepko, moved to have Elash named a
special counsel to council.

Twice since then motions to have Elashs position codified have been pulled from council agendas along with moves by McLaughlin to name other lawyers as the city attorney or solicitor and head of the citys law department.

McLaughlin first named Bert M. Moldovan in association with the Ira Weiss law office. That was allowed to go on for a month as per the citys Home Rule Charter, but council then voted last month not to consider making that arrangement permanent.

McLaughlin then named Gary Matta, who also is McKeesport Area School District solicitor, but Matta reportedly withdrew his name from consideration prior to this weeks council meeting.

Read more: Ex-McKeesport solicitor confirms he faces federal liens - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailynewsmcke...
Days of Mck

Wexford, PA

#14 Feb 22, 2012
John Q Portman wrote:
What would you say to someone who has never paid 1 cent of McKeesport City taxes, and has lived there his entire life. Owned his own business and had rental property, never paid a dime of income tax on his rental, then Pittman had the house torn down when it fell into ruin at no cost to the owner. State took funds to collect back unemployment taxes withheld but never paid, and put him out of business. Bilking the "city" of literally tens of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years.. That is what you get here in the Port!!
A lot of that is a fact in McKeesport. Watch who gets roughed up first. Those will be on the hate list to protect the Mckeesport solicitor.

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