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Letter To The Editor: Yorktown Taxpayers Are Owed $3 Million

Former Yorktown Supervisor and Councilwoman Susan Siegel
Former Yorktown Supervisor and Councilwoman Susan Siegel Photo Credit: yorktownny.org

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- The Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email yorktown@dailyvoice.com.

To the editor:

Yorktown officials are doing little to collect a $3 million debt. And as long as they continue to do nothing, Yorktown taxpayers will be the losers.

As of Dec. 3, Yorktown taxpayers were owed $3 million in unpaid taxes and interest, a.k.a. liens, from 2005 through 2013. Yes, 2005. That’s not a typo.

Two elected officials owe $22,032 in taxes and interest for 2013 on properties they own or have an ownership interest in.

Unpaid taxes put a double burden on the homeowners who do pay their taxes. First, the town doesn’t receive the revenue it’s counting on to balance its budget and second, the town has to pay the county and the school district the full amount of the taxes that are due those parcels — and hope that the liens will eventually be paid.

But, when the liens aren’t paid, and some never are, the dollar value of the liens is subtracted from the town’s reserves, a.k.a. fund balance. Since 2012, the town has had to write off, or “wipe,” almost $1 million from its fund balance.

It gets worse -- every year the town does nothing to collect what is owed, the town ends up losing more and more money. For example, since 2005 and 2008, taxpayers have been paying the school and county taxes for parcels owned by two defunct homeowners associations; to date, over $100,000. And, as long as the Town Board continues to do nothing to resolve the future ownership of these properties, Yorktown taxpayers will continue to pay, and pay and pay the annual taxes. There’s no excuse for doing nothing.

The procedure for collecting delinquent liens is straight forward — and It’s mostly an automated clerical process. But our elected officials, either due to conscious choice or irresponsible neglect, continue to do nothing. It’s time to ask our elected officials what they plan to do — and WHEN — to collect on this $3 million debt.

Susan Siegel

Former Yorktown Supervisor and Town Councilwoman

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