First Posted: 2/25/2013
Six of Luzerne County’s 69 elected tax collectors were paid more than $10,000 apiece last year to collect county property taxes, a new report shows.
Hazle Township tax collector Michael DeCosmo received the most — $36,690, the report shows.
Tax collector Nancy Frederick in Butler Township was next in line, receiving $18,084, followed by: Mildred Luba, Hanover Township, $17,584; James Chiucchi, Plains Township, $16,184; Leonard Kozick, Dallas Township, $15,617; and Ed Rossi, Foster Township, $10,346.
These amounts don’t include payments tax collectors received from school districts and municipalities.
The pay is of interest because it shows what elected collectors will lose in 2014, when the county will switch to a different collection system.
A county council majority recently voted to assign county collection to the county treasurer’s office, though the administration also may consider seeking proposals to determine if more money could be saved by hiring an outside company.
The elected collectors are paid $3.50 per bill, both paid and unpaid, which totalled $409,118.
According to the report, compiled by the treasurer’s office, another 28 collectors were paid between $5,000 and $9,999 last year.
Thirty-two collectors received payments between $1,000 and $4,999.
The three remaining collectors were paid under $1,000: Marjorie Katcavage, Bear Creek Village, $794; Mary Alice Blaine, New Columbus, $497; and Gladys Burns, Jeddo, $213.
These are gross amounts because the collectors must pay payroll taxes. The county also paid 7 percent payroll taxes, or $31,297, the treasurer’s office said.
The elected collectors have emphasized their pay also covered overhead and other costs not funded by the county.
The lowest county collection rates, hovering around 83 percent, were in Plymouth, Shickshinny, Plymouth Township and Warrior Run, the report shows.
Katcavage collected the highest percentage — 97.8 percent — in Bear Creek Village, followed by 95 percent collections in Fairview and Jackson townships and Laflin.
County officials have projected the change to treasurer’s office collection will save $258,555. Two employees would be hired to handle the additional duties, officials said.
The 69 elected collector posts are still on the ballot this year because voters must choose representatives to receive school and municipal taxes. The elected collectors also have threatened to sue the county over the elimination of their county duties, arguing council doesn’t have legal authority to take such action.