North'd County tax committee avoids any further legal action
SUNBURY - Further legal action among members of Northumberland County Tax Collection Committee has been avoided.
The committee met March 7 at Shikellamy High School, reaching its first quorum since early last fall.
Bills were paid, a $9,800 operating budget was set and officers reorganized.
The lone change is the selection of Jim Neitz as vice chairman. Other officers are Paula Greco, chairwoman; Jason Budman, secretary; and Rob Slaby, treasurer. Ed Greco remains committee solicitor.
Slaby said Thursday that none of the taxing entities that make up the committee will need to contribute any money this year for the committee to sustain itself.
The committee has failed to hold meetings since October, when the simple majority of its 44 delegates needed to open a meeting could not be had. That led to overtures from one faction of delegates that it would petition the county court to amend committee bylaws regarding quorums.
The bylaw amendment had also appeared on a recent committee meeting agenda. That appears to have at least in part been cause for concern among some delegates, who had not showed for scheduled meetings in November, December and January.
"We were assured if talk of the bylaws weren't on the agenda, it was very likely we would have a quorum and we indeed did," Budman said Thursday.
The topic was not even broached, both Budman and Slaby said.
"We didn't want to bring that up again and start another fight," Slaby said. "I thought there would be a little back and forth but there wasn't. It was pretty professional."
Last week's meeting scuttled what could have been a third court action undertaken by member delegates.
The first culminated in October when a county judge found that the committee was in violation of its bylaws and must use weighted voting on major decisions.
One such decision was the hiring of a countywide tax collector for earned income tax - a mandate under state law.
One faction preferred one firm; a second preferred another. The process of choosing one of the two led to court action taken by plaintiffs Shamokin Area, Line Mountain and Milton Area school districts, Shamokin City, Milton borough and Coal Township against the remaining 38 committee members.
The second court action came after a quorum for November's scheduled meeting could not be had. The county judge was asked to choose between the two tax-collecting firms. In December, the judge chose Berkheimer Associates, which was the plaintiffs' choice.
Berkheimer's contract expires at year's end. Whether or not it is rehired will largely depend on its performance, Budman said.