SEE BELOW STORY FROM THE DAILY NEWS- SINCE 2003, THE MAYOR HAS NOT PAID THE REAL ESTATE TAXES FOR TWO PROPERTIES HE OWNS. THIS IS EXHIBIT "A" IN EVIDENCE FOR WHY THE CITY CAN NEVER GET BIG STUFF DONE. THE FOLKS WHO ARE IN CHARGE ARE SAD, UNTALENTED, DUMB, AND ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED AND I INCLUDE THOSE 100 MOVERS AND SHAKERS THAT RUN EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO THE INQUIRER.
Posted on Mon, Sep. 24, 2007
Urban Warrior Oops! Mayor's tax crackdown nets . . . the mayor
By Chris Brennan
PHILADELPHIA NEEDS every dime it can get to pay for services like policing our streets and teaching our students.
Mayor Street knows that.
That's why the city recently cracked down on delinquent taxpayers. What Street didn't know was that he hadn't paid the property taxes on two of the four properties he owns in North Philadelphia.
That is, until the Daily News delivered the bill last week.
I'm happy to say Street moved swiftly after a three-year delay, delivering a check last Thursday to the city for $4,798.99.
Street held a news conference three weeks ago to announce the crackdown on overdue property and business taxes owed to the city.
The city then started sending out notices to 23,000 property owners, demanding payment for $394 million in back taxes. Another $294 million is owed to the city in back business taxes.
The city, Street estimated, should be able to collect about 34 percent of those back taxes - about $234 million.
The mayor invited Thomas Brady, the interim chief executive of the school district, to that news conference to emphasize how money collected in the effort will help the city pay for education costs. That adds up to about $126 million for the district over the next five years, the city estimates, with $109 million flowing into the city's coffers.
City Solicitor Romulo Diaz warned that the city will foreclose on the properties of some tax deadbeats by November, with the potential for sheriff's sales starting by next May.
Sounds like a solid idea to me.
So I was surprised to learn that the mayor last paid taxes on two of his properties in 2003.
That was the year he was running for re-election. Must be some kind of coincidence.
A rowhouse the mayor owns in trust for one of his sons at 15th and Master streets had a balance last week of $2,625.68, including taxes delinquent for 2004, 2005 and 2006, past due-taxes for 2007, interest and penalties.
Another rowhouse owned by the mayor and his nephew at 25th and Nicholas streets had a balance of $2,173.31.
To his credit - literally and figuratively - the mayor has overpaid the property taxes this year on his home at 13th and Master streets by $1,290 and by $550 for another property he owns at 12th and Diamond streets.
Joe Grace, the mayor's spokesman, last week said Street didn't know he owed the city almost $4,800 until the Daily News called up to point it out for him.
Grace said the mayor found out that the notices on his delinquent property taxes were being sent to the wrong address. The mayor never saw them, he said.
"But that's not an excuse in any way," Grace added. "We do mean what we say: Everyone must pay their taxes."
So the mayor called the city's Revenue Department, found out that the Daily News' math was correct, and had a check delivered the same day to get up to date.
The whole process, from discovery to confirmation to payment, took about two hours.
The challenge now is to get the 22,999 other property owners with past-due tax bills to cough up the cash that fast.
Grace said the trouble with the mayor's tax bills got the administration thinking about how many other property owners might not be getting notices about delinquent taxes because of mail going to the wrong address.
The city is now requesting that people who own more than one property contact the Revenue Department to make sure the correct mailing address is on file. The department can be reached at 215-686-6442 or at Box 53190, Philadelphia, PA 19105. *
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