Columbiana County Treasurer Nick Barborak thinks two years is long enough for the county to wait to collect $154,000 in back taxes from the Firestone Farms housing development, and we agree.
If a buyer isn't found for the housing development soon, Barborak wants to take action against the developer to force Firestone Farms to be sold for delinquent taxes.
National City Bank filed for foreclosure against Firestone Farms in 2009, but the lawsuit was put on hold by agreement of the parties while a new owner was sought by the bank. As a party to the foreclosure action, Barborak said he was content to hold off seeking collection of back taxes while there was a chance a new owner could be found.
But now he has decided that two years is long enough. The county isn't the only entity suffering from the lack of a tax payment. Of the $154,000 owed, 70 percent, or nearly $108,000 is owed to Columbiana schools. With severe state budget cuts on the horizon, the school district can ill afford to wait any longer for this money.
The city of Columbiana also is owed $872,000 in the form of a special assessment from the developer, which is money the city needs to repay the loan obtained to finance the cost of providing municipal water and sewer service to the development. The developer's failure to pay the assessment has forced Columbiana to use its own funds to make the loan payments.
Taking action to recoup these public funds is long overdue and the county shouldn't wait any longer to try to receive payment.