Girard officials try to recoup delinquent taxes

GIRARD — City officials are hoping to get assistance from the county treasurer’s office in recouping $305,000 in delinquent taxes from commercial properties in the city.

Third Ward Councilwoman Fran Wilson, zoning committee chairwoman, said at Monday’s City Council meeting it is not just Girard, but many communities in the Mahoning Valley, having issues with back taxes not being paid.

“We as the little guy have to pay our taxes. There are people out there who are not paying,” she said.

Wilson said they have received information from the county treasurer’s office of the many commercial property violations and noted the city, schools, Trumbull County Children Services, Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities, and others are not getting their taxes from those properties.

A list received from the county includes delinquent commercial properties and foreclosures, as well as pending foreclosures, with some property owners owing money that dates back to 2005.

She said the list includes 41 delinquent commercial parcels having $154,089 in delinquent taxes; 17 parcels with foreclosures pending at $61,573; five foreclosure parcels at $35,814; 20 parcels of residential property on commercial land at $14,116; and 69 parcels on delinquent commercial land at $39,693.

Councilman-at-Large John Moliterno said the county treasurer’s office does the collecting of back taxes.

“All the city can do is call attention to the fact that people are delinquent in paying taxes. We as a city cannot collect it ourselves. It is done by Trumbull County,” Moliterno said.

Mayor James Melfi has said he would like to know from County Treasurer Sam Lamancusa the status of the properties, noting while some are small amounts, others owe nearly $30,000.

Wilson said officials have discussed if the city were to get the money it is owed “we would not have to have the speed cameras.”

Wilson said council’s zoning committee has been looking at the condition of buildings and properties in the city’s downtown that are declared delinquent to see about getting them in better condition.

Richard DeSalvo of Shannon Road said he is concerned with the condition of the some of the vacant buildings.

“We need to put more teeth into our zoning laws. There are a few buildings when you come into town that look like hell,” he said.

Wilson said there are properties all over the city that are delinquent and a lot of money involved.

“We are trying to do something about it,” she said.

In another matter, city officials will meet 1:30 p.m. June 20 with the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer’s office and Liberty officials about water rates.

Melfi said Girard since the 1950s had extended waterlines into Liberty and paid for line upgrades and other projects, costing the city $10 million over the years. He said Liberty residents have not contributed to this other than through water rates.

Liberty officials have expressed concern that residents have higher rates from Girard than Youngstown.

Resident Edward Semple of Oak Street said everyone wants lower water rates, but Girard should not have to subsidize Liberty with lower rates while maintaining the lines.