Spring-Ford School Board votes to take control of former tax collector's bond

LIMERICK — Although she’s out of office, the former Upper Providence tax collector is allegedly still causing headaches for the Spring-Ford Area School District.

In Monday night’s meeting, the Spring-Ford Area School Board voted unanimously to take control of the bond Beverly Nohl put up to become tax collector in the effort to “execute” the township’s tax lien list.

Board solicitor Mark Fitzgerald said he sent the board the motion via email just before the meeting and urged them to vote in favor of it.

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“Since last weekend and, frankly, for a good number of weeks now, the (district) business office in conjunction with my office is looking at the reconciliation collections and the lien lists that are currently outstanding with regard to taxes,” Fitzgerald said. “As we have entered this week, it has become necessary for the board to take formal action this evening as it relates to the lien list from last year.”

Essentially, executing a lien list means that the tax collector identifies debtors as delinquent and allows for the county to step in and begin the process of collection, according to Fitzgerald.

An outgoing tax collector “typically” executes the lien list as “one of (their) last acts in office,” Fitzgerald said. It’s “rare to act upon a bond,” according to Fitzgerald.

“There have been attempts made, especially this week, to have (Nohl) execute that list so those taxes can be collected,” he told the board Monday. “As of tonight, we have not received the execution from the former tax collector.”

The unanimous vote by the board allows district administration along with Fitzgerald’s law firm, Fox Rothschild, to utilize Nohl’s bond.

Although only about $3,000 worth of taxes is owed to the district, Fitzgerald said there are approximately $1.1 to $1.2 million in liens that need to be addressed.

Spring-Ford Business Manager Timothy Anspach said that amount of liens is “normal” for most years, but it isn’t normal to not get an execution from the tax collector.

It’s estimated, he said, that the district’s spent more than 200 extra man-hours working on Nohl’s taxes.

“That was the job of our tax collector and not our staff,” said Spring-Ford Board President Joe Ciresi, advocating the exploration of what the district believes it cost to work on Nohl’s responsibilities.

Fitzgerald said he had been hopeful Monday, working in conjunction with the county, to get an execution from Nohl, but that “interaction did not bear fruit.”

It’s still preferable to have Nohl do the execution herself still, according to Fitzgerald, but the district needs to move forward.

“There was a great bit of frustration not only at the end here but all through the process,” Anspach said.

In January 2013, the school board publicly voiced frustration with Nohl, saying her filings were not on-time and also contained errors.

Since then, Julie Mullin, a former Spring-Ford board member, was elected to Nohl’s former position.

She told 21st Century Media in November that she wanted to “help the school district in a new and different way.”

Check here for a recap of the board meeting this story came from.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno.