Kelley: Late tax bill 'stupid on my part'
COAL TOWNSHIP - Northumberland County Coroner James F. Kelley said he takes responsibility for not paying approximately $700 in per capita and occupation taxes for 2010 and 2012 and considers it an "oversight."
The tax issue was brought to the media's attention by county commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy Tuesday night, two weeks prior to the Nov. 5 general election in which Kelley is seeking re-election and on the same day Kelley and three other row officers sued the county over salary cuts of 42 to 48 percent.
According to records obtained by Clausi from the township treasurer's office, Kelley owes $159.50 from 2010 and $541.75 from 2012 in combined township, county and school district taxes.
"I take full responsibility for what happened. It was stupid on my part," he said Wednesday. "I went to the tax office today with a check for the amount of taxes I owe."
He said the office at the township building was closed so he gave the check to a police clerk to give to township Treasurer Sharon Castetter today. It was learned later that Castetter can't collect delinquent taxes. Told that, Kelley said he'd get the check to the right people.
"I just want to get it taken care of," he said.
Documentation Clausi obtained from Castetter showed Kelley owes $701.25.
Clausi and Bridy criticized Kelley.
"I am extremely disappointed that an elected official has failed to pay his taxes in a timely manner," Clausi said. "As elected officials, we are supposed to lead by example. It cannot be an oversight because you get repeated notices about the delinquencies."
Clausi said Kelley's wages were attached "several times" previously for failure to pay 2008 taxes. He said the county payroll department received a new letter Tuesday from the collection agency to begin attaching his wages again.
Kelley said he wasn't aware his wages were being attached. He said he gives his county check to his wife, who pays the household bills, and he doesn't pay attention to the deductions.
Clausi also chastised Kelley for tax delinquency in light of the fact he sued the county asking that his salary be restored to $53,834. It is set to fall to $30,500 on Jan. 1.
Clausi said he looked into the tax situation after receiving a call; he declined to identify the caller.
Kelley was asked if he knew who might have informed Clausi, but he reserved comment. He also said he can't comment on the lawsuit.
Kelley said Wednesday night he attempted several times Wednesday to access his account through Berkheimer Tax Adminstrator's website, but the website said no records could be found. He said he will contact Berkheimer during regular office hours.