RAMER: The Tax Collector Who Didn’t

Submitted by Jeff Ramer, Democratic member of the BET

I pay my real estate taxes, and I am pretty sure that you do too. Accordingly, it distresses me to learn that our Tax Collector, by her neglect over the past year, has allowed nine tax accounts in Greenwich to lie uncollected for more than fifteen years, and by statute, those taxes are now time barred and have become legally uncollectible by the Town.

It is all the more shocking when we recall that when Ms. Smeriglio, this Republican Tax Collector, ran for this office two years ago, her single campaign issue was that her Democratic predecessor was cruel and heartless to have
implemented a collection process against these very same accounts. She asserted that she could and would collect all the taxes without need for such measures.

And then she didn’t. What she did instead was discontinue and withdraw the collection proceedings. Now those tax dollars are gone forever.

Because I sit as a Democratic member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation, I became aware of the dereliction, and I brought it to the attention of the full Board. The Board summoned the Tax Collector to report. Most specifically, the direction was to account to the Audit Committee of the BET, and by unanimous vote of that Committee, the report from the Tax Collector was to occur at a meeting of the BET Audit Committee at 8:30 am last Friday, October 8th.

In contravention of that vote of the Committee, the Republican chair of that Committee unilaterally deleted the report from the Tax Collector from the agenda of that meeting, and posted the agenda at the last moment, too late for the item to be restored to the agenda without agreement from its Republican members.

Election year politics.

Know too that because taxes paid are applied first to the oldest tax debt, these same nine accounts also necessarily owe their unpaid taxes from fourteen years ago, and thirteen years ago, and twelve years ago, etc. Indeed there are another dozen or so other tax accounts with unpaid taxes from ten years ago and longer.

This Tax Collector is up for re-election on November 2nd. You should know these facts. Heather Smeriglio is the Republican Tax Collector who didn’t.