If Mount Pleasant village president candidate Jerry Garski wins the election in April, he plans to introduce a village ordinance requiring candidates for public office to to have their property taxes paid in full.
Garski is running against current President Mark Gleason.
The reason for the ordinance, Garski states on his website, is because the village board is tasked with spending taxpayers’ money wisely, village leaders should set the example by paying their property taxes on time.
“Elected officials are the stewards of your tax dollars and how property taxes are spent and levied by the village is certainly one of the most important issues for residents,” the website reads. “Over the last six years, my opponent has been late on nearly every deadline for paying Mt. Pleasant property taxes a total of 2224 days.”
Gleason did not return repeated calls for comment.
According to county tax records – which do not include 2014 – Gleason paid 2013 taxes late on four properties; his home and three rentals. Payments were recorded on March 31, 2014, and December 22, 2014, for his home and two rentals, and on March 31 and May 1 for a third rental unit.
County records for Garski list his taxes for both 2012 and 2013 as paid in full before the end of each year.
Village Administrator Kurt Wahlen confirmed in an email that Garski did make a tax payment. He noted that several payments were received after the Jan. 31 deadline and Mount Pleasant staffers transferred them to the county treasurer’s office for processing, not knowing if those payments included one from Gleason.
“The Village of Mt. Pleasant has received a property tax payment from Mr. Jerry Garski,” Wahlen’s message reads. “As of January 31st, the Village of Mt. Pleasant has not received property tax payments from Mr. Mark Gleason. The Village did receive a large number of property tax payments after the January 31st date. Tax payments received after this date were recently delivered to the Racine County Treasurer for processing. It is not known if any payments from Mr. Gleason are included …”
He also noted that Village Hall can only accept payments until Jan. 31 and that a transfer to the county is not considered late.
Garski said he’s taking a hard line on this issue because board members have taxing powers, and there isn’t room for compromise on this issue. The ordinance would also apply to any appointed committee or commission members.
“If you’re sitting in the seat, especially as village president, what does that say?” he said. “I understand hard times, it happens, but there’s a difference between going through a rough patch and neglect. When you make rules for others but don’t abide by them, then I have to take a hard line: you’re not on a committee, and you’re not on the board.”
Both candidates have confirmed they will participate in a live candidate forum sponsored by Racine County Eye and Racine Taxpayers Association from 7 to 8 p.m. March 19 at Mount Pleasant Village Hall, 8811 Campus Drive.