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Gateway board member, Monroeville councilman owe back taxes

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8:39 p.m.

A Gateway School Board member and Monroeville councilman owe property taxes to the Gateway School District and Allegheny County, records showed.

School Director Bill Bailey, a Democrat in the May 21 primary, failed to pay $2,740 in 2009 and $3,479 in 2010, resulting in the Gateway School District placing two liens on Bailey's home on Ramsey Road. Both liens remained in place as of Monday, court records showed.

Bailey also owes property taxes to Allegheny County, including $632 in 2012 and $529 this year, according to county records.

Bailey said he wasn't able to make the payments because of more than $150,000 of medical bills for his wife, who he said suffered two strokes within the past five years.

“It isn't something I'm willfully avoiding,” Bailey said. “I'm in the process of taking care of it.”

School board President Steve O'Donnell said he was shocked to hear that Bailey was behind on his taxes.

“This goes directly to the core of the personal integrity of a school board member,” O'Donnell said.

Bailey is not the only elected official in Monroeville who owes taxes.

Monroeville Councilman Clarence Ramsey and his wife, Carolyn, a Democrat in the May 21 primary who hopes to succeed her husband in the 7th Ward seat, failed to pay $1,360 to Gateway that was due in 2012, according to school district records.

Clarence Ramsey said Tuesday that he established a payment plan to pay off the debt.

He said he chose to pay other bills over the years, rather than local taxes, but always with the intent of eventually paying the taxes.

Ramsey said his wife always told him that he should pay the taxes. She did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

“I said, ‘As soon as they say something, we're going to take care of it,'” Clarence Ramsey said. “She always got (mad) at me for this stuff.”

The municipality placed a lien on their Dahlia Drive home in 2002 for $175, and Allegheny County placed a lien on the home in 2012 for $315. Both liens remained in place Tuesday, county records show.

A tax lien “encumbers” a property, meaning the owner cannot refinance, sell or transfer it until satisfying the obligation.

Monroeville tax collector Pat Fulkerson said he did not start the process to place a lien on the home last year for the school taxes because Clarence Ramsey promised to pay. When the Ramseys missed a Dec. 31 deadline, Fulkerson said, he forwarded paperwork to the school district to start another lien process.

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