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Who's minding taxes?

Published October 15. 2013 05:00PM

Mahoning Township supervisors are trying to determine how to deal with the problems rising from the incapacitation of their tax collector.

Supervisors reported during their Monday meeting that they were notified about a week ago that Mahoning Township Tax Collector Richard Swarcheck is unable to function as tax collector for undisclosed reasons.

"I received a call from the tax collector's brother today who informed me that he now has his power of attorney," said secretary Natalie Haggerty during the meeting.

It was unclear if this ability will allow Swarcheck's brother to handle the tax affairs of the township while Swarcheck is unable to do so himself. Chairman John Wieczorek said he was in touch with both the school district and the Carbon County Commissioners to brief them on the situation.

"Until we receive a resignation (from Swarcheck or his legal representative), everything is status quo," Supervisor Frank Ruch said, pointing out that the supervisors cannot move forward until the office is declared or made vacant.

Until they can decide on a solution, supervisors said they felt that the Lehighton Area School District would be able to answer the question as to what is acceptable to prove residents have paid their school taxes.

Ruch pointed out that school taxes are collected in the fall so the school district is directly affected by the situation more so than the township, whose taxes are collected in the spring.

Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt suggested they send the taxes certified, but Ruch pointed out there would be no one at the tax collector's office to sign for the mail and it would be returned.

Wieczorek said in the long term the board will need to accept a resignation from Swarcheck or his legal representation, then advertise and find someone who is qualified to fill the position until the next municipal election. The successful candidate would need to be bonded as well.

Supervisors said they were not sure when the position could be filled since it is not vacated yet, but they were working to find out what needs to be done.

They had no answer on checks that have not been cashed yet, but thought they are probably sitting in the mail at the office. As long as they were postmarked before deadline dates, they would most likely be consideredtimely.

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