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South Fayette tries to resolve tax collector problem

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By Maggi Newhouse
Thursday, Feb. 28, 2002
 

South Fayette Township's school district and commission have taken different routes to try to solve a problem with the township's newly elected tax collector.

While Steven Dobis II, the elected tax collector, works to secure a bond, South Fayette commissioners are allowing his father — South Fayette's former tax collector — to fill in.

The school district, however, has given the younger Dobis until Friday to provide proof of a bond or else, school directors say, they will go to court and ask a judge to allow them to appoint a tax collector.

State code mandates that tax collectors provide a bond to secure a township against any loss of tax funds.

South Fayette commissioners announced Monday that Steve Dobis, South Fayette's tax collector and treasurer for eight years, would serve as the township's deputy tax collector while his son tries to secure a bond from a surety company.

Michael Hoy, township manager, said Steve Dobis still has his bond from the time he served as tax collector.

"(Steven Dobis II) is the tax collector, but he does not have a bond, so he is deputizing his father to serve in his capacity," Hoy said. "His father does have a bond, and he has been appointed as allowed … "

Steven Dobis II is allowed to appoint a deputy tax collector under the township code, Hoy said.

Neither Dobis would comment on the issue.

The younger Dobis was sworn in Jan. 1 as South Fayette's elected tax collector and treasurer.

Commissioners and South Fayette school officials wrote to him last week and told him to stop collecting taxes, issuing refunds, issuing certifications or making other disbursements until the bonding issue was rectified.

School board member Tom Welch said the board received a letter from the younger Dobis' attorney stating the board has not given him enough time to produce the bond. Welch called the letter "offensive" and said that Steven Dobis II has had since November's election to secure a bond.

Hoy said he expects to receive the paperwork confirming the elder Dobis' bond this week. At the meeting Monday, commissioners Frank Delfrate and Ken Chambon concurred that the elder Dobis is bonded and that the needed paperwork would arrive in the township in a day or two.

The bond ensures that in the event of the theft or loss of money, the township would not lose any funds. Generally, officials handling money for a township must be bonded for the amount of money to which they have access.

South Fayette's elected treasurer/tax collector is responsible for collecting real estate taxes for the township and school district and for accounting for all revenues collected by the township. In 2000, Steve Dobis collected about $12 million for both bodies.

The position pays $30,000 a year.

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