BRADFORD — The village of Bradford is seeking to hold delinquent taxpayers accountable and collect tax money owed to the village after approving additional prosecutor fees during the regular meeting of Bradford Council on Thursday evening.
Village Administrator Rick Looker explained that the village is going through a list of residents and individuals who have not complied with the tax code. Approximately 78 different complaints have already been issued through Miami County Municipal Court, and the village is expected to address over 150 delinquent taxpayers in total.
Looker said he will be going to court on Tuesday, Oct. 31, to address the first batch of delinquent taxpayers who were issued a court summons to appear.
Looker said that, of the 78 complaints issued, only about six of the individuals have come forward prior to a court hearing to get the issue straightened out with the village.
Looker notified the board that the law firm the village utilizes for prosecutor services required an additional fee due to the extra workload.
Board member Bob Daughtery questioned if they should pay the additional fee or begin enforcing tax code compliance from this point forward. When Daughtery asked how much money the village was owed, Looker was unsure of an exact amount due to the number of people who have not filed and have not paid. Of the the people who have filed tax returns but have not paid outstanding taxes to the village, Village Treasurer Brenda Selanders said that they owe the village approximately $8,000.
“If your number’s close, we’ll get our money back,” board member Jeff Wirrig said.
Board member Galen Balmert added, “I think we should go after them.”
Daughtery agreed, saying, “I pay my taxes. They should be paying theirs, too.”
The action of addressing delinquent taxpayers was not only to get money owed to them, but to make sure that these taxpayers do not continue neglecting to pay taxes each year.
“The whole goal here is just to get people to comply,” Looker said.
The board approved amending the 2017 agreement with Shipman Dixon & Livingston Co. to pay $2,500 for additional prosecutor services to address the numerous delinquent taxpayers. This is in addition to their original contract amount of $3,200.
Looker also told the board that the village of Gettysburg had requested to know what it might cost for the village of Bradford to do leaf pickup and street cleaning in Gettysburg.
“Can we spare the time to do that?” Balmert asked.
Looker said that “we struggle as it is” with leaf pickup in Bradford, suggesting later that they do not have the equipment or staff to spare. Looker added that he was also concerned about the perception of residents seeing Bradford trucks and equipment in Gettysburg when there might be leaf piles that the village staff missed in Bradford.
The board also expressed concern about what would happen if their equipment broke down in Gettysburg and they were not able to continue serving Bradford residents. After a discussion, board member Deb Warner suggested that the village keeps “our services for our taxpayers.”
The board declined to consider leaf pickup and street cleaning outside of the village of Bradford as an option at this time.
In addition, the board approved the purchase of a new pump for one of the village’s wells. The cost of the pump and the installation was approximately $25,439.
The board also renewed their law enforcement contract with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office for 2018. The renewed contract was a 2 percent increase in fees at an amount of approximately $7,000 per month.
The board briefly went into executive session to discuss possible litigation during their meeting. No action was taken from the executive session.
Board member Tom Moore was absent.