Lost school tax payment irks Phoenixville School District resident

PHOENIXVILLE — The Phoenixville Area School Board plans to address some problems residents have had with mailing in real estate tax payments.

Going through agenda items at a recent workshop meeting from the finance committee he chairs, school board member David Ziev explained one item regarding the waiver of late fees on a property’s taxes.

The case involved a property owner who came to the district after noticing his check paying taxes never went through the district.

“They sent a check in the mail, reviewed (their) financial statement, didn’t see it clear and said, ‘Hmm, where is my check?’” Ziev said. “And, of course, we didn’t have it.”

Ziev said the property owner is a long-term resident of the district and made all their payments on-time in the past.

“Normally, we would say, ‘We can’t control the mail,’” Ziev said. “But it appears there have been several instances of payments being lost in the mail.”

Ziev said that the district’s finance office has looked into similar cases and found instances of residents going to the Phoenixville post office and dropping off their payments there, then having the envelope eventually show up with a Philadelphia postmark.

Calls made to the Phoenixville Post Office were met only with a busy signal throughout the day Wednesday.

Joshua Gould, the school board’s current president and the former chairman of the finance committee, said the case like the one Ziev described is not unique.

“We had one of these a few months ago,” Gould said. “The policy of the finance committee has been if the administration confirms the resident has always paid on time and if they can show some evidence that indicates the check was sent ahead of the deadline ... then we will waive the late fee.”

Gould said that such a waiver is a one-time-only thing and will not be something perpetually offered to those that are late.

Those looking to be absolutely sure that their payment gets to the district can always make their payment at the district’s office.

“Rather than driving to the post office, it’s much better to come here and hand it to the folks here and get it stamped ‘received,’” Gould said. “That’s the recommended practice.”

The next finance committee meeting will feature discussion on payment alternatives for real estate taxes.

“It may eliminate some of the confusion,” Ziev said.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.