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East Greenville Tax Collector Criticized over Tax Bill
Written by BradleySchlegel, Staff Writer

County official takes full responsibility for mistake


            The former mayor of East Greenville implored borough council Monday to hold its tax collector responsible for her role in the dissemination of an incorrect calculation on a tax bill.

            One Montgomery County official has accepted blame for the error, according to council President Angie Fegely.

            Following the public meeting, Fegely displayed a recent email from Kathleen Finnegan, of the Montgomery County Board of Assessment. In the message, Finnegan takes full responsibility for the mistake and apologizes for the blaming the borough initially.

            According to Fegely, the county official put the wrong millage rate on the bill and miscalculated the payment.

            However, Ryan Sloyer argued that Diane Criddle contributed to the issue by not double checking the bills.  "Council should hold her to account," said Sloyer, whose wife Aricia Sloyer lost her job as tax collector to Criddle in November's election.

            Diane Criddle did not attend the public meeting. Her husband Doug, a member of council, told Sloyer she was at home with a fever. 

            Council Member Marita Thomson wanted the tax collector to explain to council how she is rectifying the situation.  "She needs to accept responsibility," Thomson said. "There are a lot of moving parts to this and ramifications for our staff."

            Corrected tax bills should have been mailed and received by borough residents, according to Solicitor Michael Peters.

            The initial bill listed the tax rate as 6.25 mills, but included the calculated amount due at 6.75 mills. Peters isn't sure how the error occurred.  "I don't know what happened," he said Friday morning. "The county received incorrect information," and the bills were then processed by the tax collector.

            The solicitor said he did not want to cast blame, adding that municipal officials would work initially to figure out what went wrong in order to correct the situation.

            During the meeting, Thomson expressed concern that several residents who received two tax bills would have no idea a mistake was made. She said a letter explaining the situation should have been included.

            Thomson warned the members that the borough's tax collection process might need to be audited at the end of the year.

            Responding to a question from former Council member Tracey Hunsinger, Mayor Keith Gerhart said the council needs to discuss who would pay for the second set of bills.

            Technically, the borough is responsible for the additional costs, according to Peters. He said Monday that Diane Criddle is considering paying the bill.

On Tuesday, Diane Criddle posted on the borough's Facebook page that she will be at Borough Hall from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday to accept tax payments and give those who might have paid the incorrect bill a chance to pick up their checks and pay the corrected bill.





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