Duquesne officials are working to clear up delinquent and overdue accounts --- both those owed to the city and those owed by the city.
At council's March 27 meeting, Mayor Nickole Nesby reported that she received a letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development regarding a tax obligation for the city of Duquesne.
After contacting the state Department of Revenue, Nesby learned that Duquesne did not file its fourth-quarter 2017 withholding tax return, which was due Jan. 31.
Nesby said a lock has been temporarily placed on the city's account until the return is filed, making Duquesne ineligible for state grant funding. The problem, she told city council, is that some records from the fourth quarter of 2017 were not available.
Nesby said the city's Act 47 coordinator Michael Foreman is working with council to complete the necessary records.
Additionally, Nesby told council that "payroll issues" have been documented from as early as 2006. A certified public accountant is looking into the matter, she said.
Meanwhile, City Manager Cha Sayles reported that Duquesne officials are making progress in settling bills that were due to vendors.
The city owed $132,383 to Duquesne's garbage collector, Waste Management, including the $34,325 bill for January, Sayles said. The account has now been made current, he said.
In addition, Sayles said a check was processed for $40,000 to UPMC Health Plan to cover city employee healthcare benefits, making that account current as well.
Councilwoman Fawn McDaniel reported that the city is currently owed $71,853 in delinquent water payments. The delinquent accounts fill 52 pages, she said.
“This causes a heavy burden on the city and I suggest mayor and council meet and discuss an action plan in the near future,” McDaniel said.
Nesby agreed that a standard operating procedure for the issue is needed and recommended that council discuss a plan of action at an upcoming committee meeting.
She said Duquesne officials may explore ideas such as shutting off services automatically if a certain amount of debt is incurred, or forgiving a portion of late bills if accounts are paid in full.
Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer who covers municipal news from Duquesne and White Oak, as well as other topics, for Tube City Almanac.
Originally published April 03, 2018.