SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The city of Scranton and Lackawanna County are teaming up to collect delinquent taxes.
Scranton will be cutting ties with its current tax service and appointing the county to take over. The announcement comes just two weeks before the new year. Something many city and council officials say should have been done years ago.
By the middle of 2020, delinquent Scranton tax payers will have to come to the Lackawanna County Government Center. This comes after Mayor Wayne Evans has been working to transition the city away from its current collector, Northeast Revenue Service, which has been working with the city since 2011.
“I’ve been involved with this conversation for at least five years. My entire time on city council trying to get this passed,” Evans said.
Court paperwork from former mayor Bill Courtright’s guilty plea indicates he took a bribe from the president of Northeast. Courtright pled guilty to federal corruption charges in July.
“We all understand what was going on in the past administration and why they did not want to deal with the Lackawanna County Tax Bureau,” county commissioner Patrick O’Malley said.
Moving forward, on January 1st, the county will start handling delinquent taxes once the agreement is signed. The tax bureau won’t facilitate the taxes until the city’s contract with Northeast ends in June.
“It’s something that is going to save the taxpayers money. It’s going to be more efficient. It’s going to be more effective and it is, again, good government,” Evans said.
“Because it mattered to us, it matters to the mayor and it matters to the citizens of Scranton, Pennsylvania,” O’Malley said.
Northeast issued a statement to Eyewitness News saying: “We want to make it clear that neither our company nor any of its officers or employees, have been charged with any unlawful acts in connection with Scranton’s former mayor.”
O’Malley says the city will pay the county an administrative fee to do the work. At this time, it’s unclear how much the city will be saving moving from Northeast Revenue Service to the county’s tax bureau.