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Amusement tax issue surfaces in Mahoning

Published October 29. 2009 05:00PM

There are many amusements in Mahoning Township from movies to auto racing, and one resident asked supervisors during Wednesday night's meeting why all aren't being required to pay their fair share of the amusement tax in the township. Resident Linda Pollock challenged supervisors to explain why the race track appears to be the only amusement paying the required tax according to the township's own code.

"I want to know how the tax is enforced, where it's paid and why only $1,405 in taxes have been paid to date," said Pollock. "The code states that amusement taxes should be paid by moving picture shows, golfing, athletic events, auto racing and even mechanical devices. Why aren't they paying taxes also?"

Chairperson Pat Snyder told Pollock she really wasn't sure and since Solicitor Steve Serfass was not yet at the meeting when the subject was mentioned, she couldn't provide a reason. "I know at one point it was reviewed a while ago and Steve had learned that there was a reason for not counting the movie theaters in the tax collection, but I don't recall what it was," she said.

Snyder assured Pollock when Serfass arrived she would ask him.

Pollock said the township was missing a large avenue for collecting revenue. Using conservative participation in these other recreations she estimated the township was missing over $20,000 a year just between assessing the taxes on the movies and the golf course themselves and not counting any other venues.

Race track representative Gina Hoffman was also at the meeting with Pollock and she asked supervisors why her checks had not yet been cashed. "We've paid more than $1,405 and we have several outstanding checks," she said. Hoffman said she spoke to Richard Swarcheck, husband of the late tax collector, who has been trying to take care of her duties since she passed away last month.

Hoffman said he told her he found one of her checks and was in the process of trying to catch up with them. Snyder said she knew that Mrs. Swarcheck had been ill before her death and that it was possibly part of the reason the checks were outstanding.

Snyder said, "We will stay on top of it" and asked township secretary Natalie Haggerty to speak with Swarcheck on Thursday.

Supervisor John Wieczorek added they were aware of the amusement tax issue and would be discussing it during the budget workshop on Thursday.

Later in the meeting after Serfass arrived he answered Snyder's question about the tax which was proposed by Pollock. He said offhand he did not know the answer but would review his files to provide it to the board.

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