PHOTO BY DIANA GOOVAERTSVernon Township Mayor Harry Shortway (left) sits next to business Administrator Charles Voelker.
By diana goovaerts
VERNON — Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway expressed concern about the effect unpaid taxes will have on the township's budget as work progresses on the 2018 plan. In particular, Shortway said he was worried about the reserve for uncollected taxes, which is money municipalities set aside each year to ensure they can pay their share of school, county and state taxes in the event that local taxpayers fail to make payments. Typically, the reserve is calculated based on the previous year's tax collection rate. The lower the collection rate, the larger the reserve must be to ensure the municipality can meet its obligations. Shortway reported “hundreds of thousands of dollars” are currently owed to the township by a number of different entities. That includes more than $1.2 million in municipal liens on properties at Legends, $169,000 in taxes owed at Northwoods and $66,000 in unpaid sewer charges at Minerals. Mountain Creek payed all its financial obligations last year, he added, but will soon be facing a tax bill of more than $448,481.25 due January 31 as well as subsequent payments due in March and June. Shortway said he will use “every legal means” to enforce payments. “It is not fair to us who pay our property taxes to cover the school and county taxes owed by LLCs and other persons who do not pay,” he commented. “Vernon does not need businesses who do not pay and who do not support our community.” Vernon typically approves its annual budget in March.