Public shaming threat moves 1 delinquent Tarentum property owner to pay taxes |
Valley News Dispatch

Public shaming threat moves 1 delinquent Tarentum property owner to pay taxes

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Tarentum Borough welcome sign.

The threat of public shaming so far hasn’t motivated many Tarentum property owners with delinquent taxes to pay or get on a payment plan.

As of Thursday, just one person had come forward and paid delinquent property taxes, taking his name off a list the borough plans to post to its website on May 1.

The person who paid owed almost $1,500 on his home that had accumulated over three years, tax collector Karen Marietti said.

Council discussed publicizing the names of delinquent taxpayers at a meeting on Feb. 5, and approved doing it two days later.

According to borough Manager Michael Nestico, Tarentum is owed almost $67o,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. More than half, about $336,000, is owed from 2013 to 2017.

Marietti said most of the taxes are owed on residential properties, including rentals.

The one property owner who paid his past-due bills did so specifically to avoid being published on the list, Marietti said.

“I wouldn’t say I’m not surprised. People just don’t care anymore,” she said. “It’s not fair to us who pay.”

To avoid being on the list, she said property owners would have to pay in full or get on a payment plan by mid-April.

Payment plans will vary based on how much is owed, but she said payments can’t be less than $100 per month. “It has to be a reasonable amount,” she said.

Property owners can reach Marietti by phone at 724-224-1179 or email at [email protected] Until Feb. 25, the office in the borough building at 318 E. Second Ave. is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; from Feb. 25 to Oct. 31, it will also be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

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