City appoints new tax collector

In a move echoed by surrounding township and municipalities, the City of St. Marys plans to sever its ties with Central Tax Bureau (CENTAX), a tax collection agency, appointed in January 2012 by the Elk County Tax Collection Committee (ECTCC) as the permanent income tax collector agency."Since that time we've had nothing but problems with CENTAX," said St. Marys City Manager Dave Greene. "We have not received any reports from them, although we have received money. They continue to be behind on distributing the money to us."The St. Marys City Council approved a motion Monday evening to hire Berkheimer Associates as the new local tax collector in an effort to impose and retain collection of delinquent taxes.According to Greene, in 2011 at this time the city had collected $931,630 as compared to this year; through August, the city has collected $700,653, a difference of $230,977. This month the city has received $96,865, but with no report.He added the ECTCC has terminated the contract with CENTAX, given the agency proper notice and has hired Berkheimer Associates to take over the earned income tax collection.Councilman Gary Anderson inquired if the city will recoup any money CENTAX has collected but has not submitted to the city. Greene said yes and that CENTAX will work with Berkheimer in voluntarily turning the records over to the new company. CENTAX will also reconcile the first and second quarter, and from the third quarter on, Berkheimer will be taking it over."We will see to it that we get our money," Greene said. "The ECTCC has put the bonding company of CENTAX on notice that the city is expecting to receive their money."A letter has been sent to CENTAX's bonding company, Travelers, notifying them the county wants the balance of the money.Solicitor Tom Wagner said pertaining to discussion on what to do in the interim period with CENTAX, it was felt "the fewest changes the better in terms of participation by employers, public and the tax collection process."