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Tarentum considering public shaming of tax deadbeats |
Valley News Dispatch

Tarentum considering public shaming of tax deadbeats

Brian C. Rittmeyer

Warning to Tarentum tax deadbeats: your tax debt soon could become public knowledge.

Borough council is considering using the threat of public embarrassment to get delinquent property taxpayers to pay up.

As tentatively discussed, if those who owe delinquent property taxes don’t pay by April 30, their names would become publicly available on the borough’s website on May 1.

“It is possible to do,” Borough Manager Michael Nestico said. “We have the legal authority to do that.”

It would happen if council approves a resolution to do so at its meeting on Thursday.

According to Nestico, Tarentum is owed almost $670,000 in unpaid property taxes from 1978 to 2017, the most recent year available.

Most of that money is from recent years, with almost $100,000 owed from 2017 alone. About $60,000 is owed from 1978 through 2000, he said.

While some of the very old past-due accounts could belong to the dead, officials believe most of it is owed by people still living in their homes.

The balance owed from 2013 to 2017 is more than half of the total — about $336,000.

Tax bills will be going out in three weeks. Councilwoman Carrie Fox said the warning would give those who owe a chance to pay before the names are released.

Fox suggested putting the names on the borough’s website first to avoid the cost of a newspaper advertisement.

“It does work,” she said of getting delinquent taxpayers to pay. “It’s very effective.”

Nestico and council discussed how information about those who do or do not pay their Allegheny County property tax is readily available on the county’s website, and that some property owners may pay their county tax bill but not the borough’s for that reason.

Solicitor David Regoli said the borough can put who does and does not pay on its website.

“Taxes are public knowledge,” Councilwoman Lou Ann Homa said.

Council meets beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday at the borough building, 318 E. Second Ave.

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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