Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 3:01 a.m.
Clairton officials adopted two ordinances on Tuesday that mandate that any person or company wanting to do business with the city be in good financial standing regarding real estate taxes and fees.
Both passed with 3-1 votes, with Mayor Rich Lattanzi, Councilwoman Kathy Tachoir and Councilman John Lattanzi in favor. Councilman Richard Ford dissented. Councilman Terry Julian was absent.
According to one of the ordinances, “certain individuals and entities doing business with the city have been delinquent on accounts such as business privilege, mercantile, sewage, garbage, wage, real estate and any and all taxes. The city cannot sustain this kind of financial delinquency.”
Ford said the city should consider charging delinquent fees, but legislation was not necessary.
“What if the business or the person (is) not from Clairton?” Ford asked. “Would that give them a first shot at doing business with Clairton because they don't owe Clairton anything? I don't think enough consideration has been given to this.”
“We want to get everyone as current as possible,” Rich Lattanzi said. “We just felt that if you want to be an effective leader, you have to hold yourself in high regard.”
“Too many people were being delinquent on too many things,” Tachoir said. “We have to start making sure we collect what's owed to the city. If they would go and buy more land, they may not pay the taxes on that land. We feel this is a good way to try to get the city taxes and delinquencies caught up and not create more.”
The mayor declined to say if the city has received bids or proposals from people or companies that were delinquent.
City manager Howard Bednar said the city can consider outside bids, and there's always options. “We always put in that the city may reject any and all bids, basically without reason,” Bednar said. “We may not be able to hold the ordinance against them, but from a moral standpoint the same rules apply,” the mayor said. “We'll know if they're in good standings or not.”
The city's vacant property program already requires anyone wishing to acquire property to be up-to-date on fees owed to the city.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.