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Buffalo Township supervisor owes $22,000 in back taxes

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

Buffalo Township Supervisor Gary Risch Sr. owes almost $22,000 in unpaid property taxes, tax records show.

Risch said he has told the Butler County Tax Claim Office that he plans to make payments on nearly $22,000 in unpaid property taxes on six parcels.

“It was something that has been in the works,” Risch said.

The outstanding 2012 taxes are owed to the township, Butler County and Freeport Area School District.

They include about $16,900 for two parcels that include two commercial properties at 111 South Pike Road, and $3,200 on land that includes his parents' former home, a commercial building and driving range, according to the county tax office.

Risch owes a combined $1,770 for three pieces of vacant property along South Pike Road (Route 356), tax records show.

“I started a new business, and things have just been tough,” Risch said. “I was paying nearly $1,300 a week in taxes.”

He owns Garrett's Place restaurant at 110 South Pike Road, Buffalo Township.

Risch's fellow Supervisor John Haven said the two have not discussed the matter.

“I know with this business he has a lot of costs, and if he fell behind, he's going to make up the difference,” Haven said. “He's an honest person and a hard worker, and I know he'll take care of it.”

Janet Mentel, director of the county's tax claim office, said Risch didn't sign a formal agreement to make payments.

“He came in on April 10 and said he would be making payments from now on to get them caught up,” she wrote in an emailed response.

Generally, Mentel said, for her office to set up a payment plan, the person must owe two years of back taxes on their primary residence. She said none of Risch's properties would qualify.

Freeport Area School Board President Dan Lucovich said he believes the district will get its share.

“I've known Gary for a long time, and I would think that he would make good on what he owes,” Lucovich said.

He said his stance would be similar regardless of who the taxpayer is.

“I think our philosophy has been that there are always delinquent taxes, and the tax collectors have worked with individuals to collect those taxes to get our money back,” he said.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jweigand@tribweb.com.

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