Thursday, February 11, 2021

Schuylkill County Joins Lawsuit Against Borough of Shenandoah for Unpaid Taxes

On Wednesday, the Schuylkill County Commissioners announced the County would join a lawsuit against the borough of Shenandoah to collect unpaid taxes.

During Wednesday's regular meeting of the Schuylkill County Board of Commissioners, a statement was released that the County would be joining litigation to pursue unpaid taxes by the borough of Shenandoah from the year's 2000 through 2015.

On January 27th, 2021, the Shenandoah Valley School District announced the school district would be suing the borough for unpaid taxes from 2000 through 2015 and requested that Schuylkill County would join in the litigation.

In early 2020, the Shenandoah Valley School District received a check for $46,732.83 from a former borough manager.  The district questioned the payment and learned the monies were for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) collected between 2016-2019 for public housing projects.

The County and school district worked together to find the existence of a 1967 agreement where "the Borough had a responsibility to remit PILOT payment funds annually to the other two taxing districts. The agreement stated that the Borough would collect the funds from the Schuylkill County Housing Authority and was obliged to make pro-rata payments to both the school district and the County.

It was found that the borough ceased making payments to both entities in 2000.

A discussion was held in March of 2020 between the District, County, and Borough where a payment of $12,725.54 was paid by the borough to the County for 2016 through 2019, but still left a balance of $39,582.72 for the years 2000 through 2015 that the Borough still owed to the County.

According to the County officials, to obtain the debt from the borough, the School District demanded FULL payment of the monies from the Borough, to which they counter offered to pay a minimal amount.

This led to the current litigation in an attempt to obtain the full amount of money owed to the borough.

"The County and the District have an obligation to its taxpayers to collect ALL amounts due and owing. Therefore, the County will join with the District and proceed with the filing of a civil lawsuit against the Borough and seeking the past due amounts, along with interest from the date when each annual payment was due, along with court costs and attorney fees", the County said in their statement.