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New Warren Co. Treasurer gets to work on accomplishing campaign promises

Photo by Thom Randall.

— While O’Keefe began the practice of providing detailed information on cash flow, tax receipts and budget expenditures on a regular basis — Swan said this week he plans to expand on the practice.

Swan also said he would soon be taking steps toward fulfilling other campaign promises, and both need to have local laws changed to enact them. County leaders have to date expressed support for Swan’s initiatives.

The easiest to accomplish might be the ability to accept credit and debit cards and electronic money transfers for tax payments.

The second initiative is establishing the opportunity for citizens pay for taxes — from one to three years in arrears — in installments.

Existing laws only allow property owners to pay their back taxes after their current year's taxes are paid up – and taxes must be paid in one lump sum for a year's liability, even if the sum is staggering.

Now, only citizens behind by three years on their taxes are eligible to negotiate a payment program for the old balance due.

This initiative of partial payments was criticized by Swan’s political opponent in the fall campaign. Michael O’Keefe suggested that it would slow down collections of overdue taxes by the county and hurt revenues.

Others countered that it would boost revenues by helping people catch up. Slower collections, they also noted, prompt fines and interest earnings by the time the total due is paid, yielding higher earnings for the county.

While Swan’s focus has been on pursuing some radical changes, the tradition of the office is impressive, the new Treasurer said this week.

“It's humbling to follow in the footsteps of John Wertime and Frank O'Keefe, considering their accomplishments,” he said.

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