Poor collection rate for per capita tax concerns board
Concern was expressed by the Schuylkill County Commissioners over the poor collection rate of the $5 per capita tax, which is imposed on all adults in the county.
At the board's work session, held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville, county Treasurer Jacqueline McGovern reviewed with commissioners the report she had prepared showing the collections of real estate and per capita tax for 2012 year.
While many of the collections of real estate tax showed collections in the 90 percent status, none showed a higher than 81 percent per capita tax collected. The commissioners have to approve the report and action will be taken at next week's public meeting. No solution was reached.
Fifteen of the 30 boroughs reported 90 percent or higher of real estate tax collection, with Orwigsburg having the highest, 96 percent. The collections of area boroughs were: Coaldale, 87 percent; Mahanoy City, 72 percent; McAdoo, 89 percent; Middleport, 87 percent; New Philadelphia, 87 percent; New Ringgold, 95 percent; and Tamaqua, 88 percent.
Twenty-seven of the 36 townships collected real estate taxes of 90 percent or higher, with Eldred Township showing the highest percentage, 99 percent. Collection of real estate taxes by area townships were, Blythe, 88 percent; Delano, 90 percent; East Brunswick, 96 percent; East Union, 86 percent; Kline, 92 percent; North Union, 94 percent; Rush, 95 percent; Ryan, 93 percent; Schuylkill, 92 percent; Walker, 97 percent; and West Penn, 95 percent.
The total amount of real estate taxes collected in 2012 was $27,338,090.18.
The per capita tax collection was a different story, with many boroughs and townships barely collecting over 50 percent. The per capita tax collected by area boroughs was: Coaldale, 59 percent; Mahanoy City, 43 percent; McAdoo, 65 percent; Middleport, 52 percent; New Philadelphia, 68 percent; New Ringgold, 64 percent; and Tamaqua, 56 percent.
The per capita tax collections by area townships were, Blythe, 69 percent; Delano, 64 percent; East Brunswick, 82 percent; East Union, 72 percent; Kline, 82 percent; North Union, 82 percent; Rush, 75 percent; Ryan, 73 percent; Schuylkill, 70 percent; Walker, 76 percent; and West Penn, 79 percent.
The total amount of per capita tax collected in the county in 2012 was $338,210.
The commissioners were unhappy to learn they have to refund to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquecy (PCCD) the balance of unused funds from a grant received for the Restrictive Intermediate Punishment (RIP) program which is used by the county court as a form of probation in criminal cases.
The state agency wants back $28,767. The money was to be used for hiring a coordinator, which was not carried out. The commissioners criticized the restricted use of funds, claiming it could have been applied to other phases of the program.
Permission was granted to Schuylkill Transportation System (STS), which operates the county bus line, to seek sealed bids for fuel supplies for the period from April 10, through April 10, 2015. Bids must be received by 3 p.m. local time on Monday, March 18, and will be opened at the commissioners' work session of Wednesday, March 20. Bids can be obtained from the controller's office in the courthouse.
The commissioners approved a grant of $25,000 from the county's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the Independent Square project in Orwigsburg to construct 20 housing units for the elderly in the former Fessler Building.