Coal Twp. trying to ID tax evaders
COAL TOWNSHIP - In an effort to identify tax evaders and add them to the municipal tax rolls, Coal Township commissioners are seeking assistance from U.S. Senators Robert Casey Jr. and Patrick Toomey and Congressman Lou Barletta to introduce legislation requiring the U.S. Postal Service to share master listings of names and addresses of people receiving mail within the township.
"This is a very important step in getting people to pay taxes and placing them on our tax rolls," commented Craig Fetterman, president of the board of commissioners. "This could be huge and we need to push our senators and congressman to pass legislation to help us track down tax evaders."
Commissioner Gene Welsh added, "All we want is for everyone to pay their fair share."
Fetterman, Welsh and Commissioners George Zalar, Jerry Waugh and Bernie Rumberger passed a motion Thursday night to write letters to the legislators in an effort to obtain the master listings.
Township manager Robert Slaby said efforts have been unsuccessful in obtaining the listings from the Shamokin Post Office. He said a post office official said he is not allowed to provide that information even if he had it.
In other business
Waugh reported the Lower Anthracite Regional Recreation Committee (LARRC) has raised $20,493 during the past two years through fund-raising activities and donations for the construction of a recreation area near Mountain View: A Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, including two soccer fields, batting cages, a walking track and a playground.
"We are continuing to move forward with our projects and hope to be pushing dirt soon," said Waugh, who is an active member of LARRC. "I want to thank everyone for their support thus far."
The board adopted an ordinance that will establish a "no-parking" zone on the east side of Shamokin Street in Coal Run.
Richard Capps was unanimously hired as a full-time street department mechanic at an hourly rate of $15.35 plus benefits. Capps has a commercial driver's license.
James Sanders and Ken Young were appointed sewage enforcement officer and alternate sewage enforcement officer, respectively, for the township. They will be used as needed.
Mark M. Cupp was appointed to the non-paying position of township emergency management coordinator.
Fetterman warned residents that they should not shovel or plow snow into the street or pile snow at intersections or fire hydrants.
At the beginning of the meeting, Waugh presented a proclamation to Jared Dunn, 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Scott Dunn, Tharptown, for his outstanding efforts with the annual Christmas display erected at the playground in Tharptown.
Township resident Ken Yoder complained about a dilapidated garage at 914 W. Pine St. owned by Ricky E. Walter, 50, of 314 N. Rock St., Shamokin, who was fined $1,000 by a county judge earlier this week for the condition of the property and the former St. Anthony's Parochial School building in Ranshaw, which he also owns.
Yoder claimed Walter only received a "slap on the wrist" by being ordered to pay the fine and may still refuse to fix up or tear down the garage.
Yoder's complaint irritated the commissioners because they have been very active in fighting blight in the township.
"We've been working hard to fight blight," Waugh said. "It's a long, drawn-out process."
"Nobody has been more committed in the area fighting blight than Coal Township," stated Fetterman. "We've done everything possible within the law to combat blight and will continue to do so."
Solicitor Vincent V. Rovito Jr. added, "We've spearheaded the effort and led the charge in cleaning up blight. No other community in the region has done more than Coal Township in battling blight. We have to follow the proper procedures and that's a slow process. We can continue to issue fines, but we can't make him board up the property. But believe me, we aren't done yet."
Rumberger reported township police made 93 arrests in December and received 280 complaints. He said officers patrolled 5,579 miles last month and investigated 34 accidents.
Nine abandoned vehicles were reported and 27 parking tickets were issued last month. Twenty-nine criminal complaints or citations were issued and 28 traffic citations were written. Nine tickets were issued for code violations.
Fetterman said a total of 1,956,123 pounds of material were recycled in 2012 at the township's recycling center. He said 1,576,380 pounds were recycled in 2011.
In the month of December, Fetterman said 243,385 pounds of material were recycled.
Although prices for recyclable materials fell significantly in the latter part of 2012, Fetterman said the township still finished the year with a profit of $16,716.43.