Gretchen Lawson, Trappe Borough's tax collector, stood before borough council at their first business meeting of 2013 on Jan. 2 to request funds for expenses related to the collection of the local tax.
"The county will no longer provide 100% of reimbursed expenses, so I am requesting that Council consider paying 50% of those expenses," Lawson said. "I also need to obtain a bond, and by law, the taxing district is responsible for the premium of that bond."
In addition to postage costs, there is a post office box expense of $100 this year (up from $96 in 2012). The county and school district currently pay for 1/3 of that post office box. There are also other expenses for printing, postage, books, forms and the overall operation of the tax collection office.
Solicitor Dave Onorato shared information about laws and ordinances as they pertain to tax collection.
"Every four years when the tax collector position is up for re-election, municipalities need to set a compensation rate, not to exceed 5% of the amount collected," said Onorato. "This allows potential candidates to decide if they want to run for the position."
Onorato suggested that Trappe Council be prepared to vote on a compensation schedule at the February 5 meeting as this is an election year for a tax collector in the borough. He said that some municipalities decide to do a lump sum and some do a percentage based upon the amount of tax collected. The borough can also choose to compensate for reimbursable expenses.
Councilman Nevin Scholl recommended that the finance committee have an opportunity to review compensation schedules of surrounding municipalities to make a recommendation to Council.
The council directed the borough manager to investigate the costs of obtaining a bond for the tax collector. This information will be presented at the February meeting.
When Councilwoman Cathy Johnson asked if the borough could consider compensating the tax collector for reimbursable expenses this year, the solicitor said that was not allowable by law as the previous compensation schedule had already been established.
Lawson also requested that the borough consider raising the fee for tax certifications and look at options for recovering expenses for checks with insufficient funds. These requests will be considered by council.
The tax collector reminded residents that tax bills will no longer be sent to mortgage companies. All residents are responsible to make sure that their mailing addresses are up-to-date. The tax collector can be reached by phone at 610-454-7731, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found at the Trappe PA Tax website.