Up­dat­ing tax list is fair

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - OPINION - Mar y Ellen Hines, tax col­lec­tor, BEAVER MEAD­OWS


Af­ter read­ing the re­cent ar­ti­cle on the Beaver Mead­ows Bor­ough Coun­cil meet­ing, I needed to clar­ify some­thing writ­ten in the ar­ti­cle.

The amended or­di­nances that are presently be­ing en­forced have been on the bor­ough books for many years, even go­ing back to when Brian Katchur and Bob Rossi were on coun­cil. As I stated they were not en­forced. And this tax list is out of con­trol and needs to get up­dated to be fair to all ci­ti­zens liv­ing in the bor­ough.

When tax bills are be­ing col­lected in the spring, I ask, “Is it fair for the 80-, 85-, and 90-year-olds liv­ing in the bor­ough who are the first ci­ti­zens to come for­ward and pay this $5 tax?” They do not com­plain; they just feel it is their civic obli­ga­tion. They have paid this tax since the time it went into ef fect. There are much younger in­di­vid­u­als re­sid­ing in the bor­ough who are not pay­ing.

This is not a “money-mak- in gs cheme ,” as Brian Katchur stated. It is de­signed to be fair to all liv­ing in the bor­ough over the age of 18.

The per capita tax list is be­ing up­dated to treat each per­son over the age of 18 equal. When I took over as tax col­lec­tor, I had peo­ple call­ing me when they re­ceived th­ese bills ask­ing if they had to pay. I ex­plained if they re­ceived a bill they needed to pay.

One lady told me she lived in an apart­ment in the bor­ough for sev­eral months. The girl up­stairs lived in Beaver Mead­ows for four years and did not get a bill. The rea­son ba­si­cally was that the girl up­stairs did not have a mov­ing per­mit. She then did not get put on the per capita list.

Re­cently, there were an ad­di­tional 156 tax bills sent to res­i­dents added. Some have not been pay­ing for years. It is a vi­cious cir­cle. All coun­cil is try­ing to do is to get each per­son on the list. It is not in­tended to be a “money-mak­ing scheme”; if it was, fees would be much higher. Those who think that could do a bas­ket raf­fle or have a weekly bingo game.

Ev­ery­one com­plains how un­fair the school taxes are since prop­erty own­ers pay the bills. Per­haps the crit­ics would like coun­cil to just raise the mill­age and then the prop­erty own­ers will once again be pay­ing the to­tal bill.

That is ex­actly what has been hap­pen­ing in Beaver Mead­ows — prop­erty own­ers are pay­ing the bills. The goal is to be fair, have ev­ery per­son over the age of 18 to as­sist in pay­ing bor­ough bills. We do un­der­stand there will prob­a­bly not be each and ev­ery per­son on this list. We would like to get as close as pos­si­ble to 100 per­cent. How­ever, if there is not co­op­er­a­tion from in­di­vid­u­als (land­lords) this will not hap­pen. Beaver Mead­ows does not have full-time em­ploy­ees to mon­i­tor ac­tiv­ity of peo­ple mov­ing in and out of the bor­ough.

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