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Blairsville names accountant to interim tax collector post

Jeff Himler
| Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

Blairsville Council received letters from 13 applicants seeking to fill the borough's vacant tax collector position.

At their Tuesday meeting, council members agreed that accountant and income tax preparer Carol Tarasovich would be the best choice to take over as collector. Councilman Ron Evanko was absent.

Tarasovich will serve through the end of the year, completing the unexpired term of Joan Baker, who recently resigned after 11 years in the post.

Council President John Bertolino said Tarasovich's work experience within the past 15 years set her apart as a top choice from among the field of applicants. “It seemed to be most in line with the qualifications for the job,” he said.

In her letter of application, Tarasovich noted she has been self-employed as an accountant for 30 years providing bookkeeping and tax preparation services.

In a phone interview later Tuesday evening, Tarasovich said her approach to her new position of tax collector will be to “do the job well and honestly. I can easily do that work along with my own job.”

While Baker used a small office council has made available at the borough building, Tarasovich said she plans to handle tax collections out of her accounting office at 299 N. Morrow St., Blairsville. She said she intends to obtain a separate phone line and install a drop box for submission of tax payments.

Tarasovich indicated it's too soon to say whether she'd seek votes in this year's municipal election, in order to continue an additional four years as tax collector.

“If I like it, I definitely would consider running,” she added.

Another applicant, Constance Ottie, initially was nominated but received only two of fives votes from the council members who were present.

Others who applied include Bryan Houser, Christina Bell, Rita Koshurba, Tammy DiLoreto, Karen Sulkosky, John Wodowski, Patricia Lance, Robert L. Nolan Jr., Maureen Roth, Deborah Shreckengost and Marlene Clawson. Sulkosky, who previously served as borough tax collector in 1990-94, indicated she doesn't plan to seek election to another full term as collector.

Baker said she was ready to step down as tax collector. “It's time for somebody else to step up and do it,” she said, noting, “I've been working since I was 14.”

Council appointed Berkheimer Tax Administrator, the company that is collecting earned income tax for all taxing bodies in Indiana County, to collect the local service tax in the borough for 2013. Citing Berkheimer's efficiency, borough manager Tim Evans noted Blairsville stands to save about $1,000 by using the firm rather than paying a fee to the local collector for handling LST receipts.

Council accepted Ed Smith's resignation from the Blairsville Community Development Authority, where he recently had served as board president, and agreed to advertise for a new appointee to the panel.

According to minutes from the Jan. 21 BCDA meeting, Smith indicated he was stepping down because he had too many other obligations including serving on the Blairsville-Saltsburg School Board and the county re-assessment board.

At that meeting, the BCDA elected the following current officers: Jon Herby, president; Jim Garvin, vice president; Jim Mollo, treasurer; Linda Gwinn, secretary.

Borough council reappointed Gwinn to the BCDA board and approved Carol Persichetti and Jeff Marshall to serve in two seats that have been added to the authority.

Also reappointed were: Justin Fridley, Blairsville Municipal Authority; Irv Lindsey, civil service commission; Peggy Dills, parking authority; Herby and Ottie, shade tree commission; Rick Shoemaker, recreation board; James Durrant, codes appeal board.

Jill Gaston, officer in charge of borough police, reported that the next meeting of the revived Blairsville Crime Watch group will be at 6 p.m. this coming Thursday at the Blairsville Italian Club. The agenda includes a presentation at 6:30 p.m. concerning drug trends.

At the recommendation of the borough planning commission, council agreed to correct the zoning designation for a property at North Walnut Street and Conner Alley, behind the Highridge Water Authority building, where a developer has proposed to erect an 800-square-foot pole building.

According to the commission, the parcel was improperly identified as residential when it should be designated as part of a “transitional” zone.

Evans noted the zoning change does not mean the proposed building is approved. The plans still will need to be reviewed by the commission.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or jhimler@tribweb.com.

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