Municipalities near N.Y. taxing limit

Municipal City

WATERTOWN — A High Street man has made a formal offer to pay his back taxes so he can keep his home.

In a letter to the mayor and the City Council, Thomas Chiarelly has submitted an offer to pay $4,455.51 in back taxes, plus two months additional interest and any penalties to keep his home at 302 High St.

“We’ll probably make a decision and could vote on it on Monday,” Mayor Joseph M. Butler Jr. said.

It will take four votes to accept the offer.

Mr. Chiarelly was unable to pay the $4,445.51 in back taxes on the June 28 deadline, even though he offered to pay them in a payment plan.

In his letter, Mr. Chiarelly and his wife Linda requested council members to consider and accept the offer “knowing that all property taxes hereafter will be kept current and up to date and paid when due.”

While he’s not taking a position on the request, City Manager Rick Finn strongly recommends that council members direct staff to draft a policy that would “establish parameters that would govern future similar requests.”

Two days before the June 28 deadline, Mr. Chiarelly approached City Comptroller James E. Mills about paying in installments, but the City Charter doesn’t allow for back taxes to be paid in installments.

Mr. Chiarelly also attended a July 2 City Council meeting in which he threatened to sue the city, claiming what they were doing was unconstitutional.

He had two years to pay the back taxes in full, but that deadline came and passed on June 25 and the city ended up with the house. During the past two years, the city sent out reminders every so often about his need to pay the back taxes.

He’s lived in the High Street property for 33 years and didn’t want to lose it.

He said he came on hard times after losing his job as a cleaner with the Watertown City School District. He injured his back working construction and then was denied disability.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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