YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Some people are skipping out on paying their taxes, and it could be hurting you.
Local tax money pays for schools, police and fire departments, even parks and libraries. When landowners don’t pay their property taxes, tracking down those missing dollars can be a big chore for the county.
One large landowner in Mahoning County is behind on his tax bill by more than half a million dollars.
Mark King has a real estate empire. Below is a map of the properties he owes taxes on in Youngstown:
If you are on the WKBN app, you can view the interactive map on WKBN.com.
“I think it’s unfair. I pay my taxes on time every time,” said Valeria Goncalves, who lives in Brier Hill on the north side.
About ten years ago, she got involved in an effort to have King bring his hundreds of properties up to code.
“In my neighborhood, if one person is working on their house and doing something, all the neighbors will do something,” she said.
The city said King is now very good about repairing his houses when asked, but even he admits he’s behind on his taxes.
Goncalves said it’s creating an unfair situation.
“If one of his houses catches fire and burns down, it’s our tax dollars that’s gonna have to pay to tear it down. It’s our tax dollars that are going to have to pay to put it out.”
King said on the phone he was too busy to meet with WKBN 27 First News. The landlord said the economic downturn put him behind in his taxes and he’s trying to get caught up.
County Treasurer Dan Yemma said King has been honest about the past-due accounts.
“He has been upfront and visible to us. He’s not hiding from us and he’s not trying to get around his responsibilities.”
Yemma said King made about $50,000 in payments over the past year.
Goncalves said she wants to see the taxes paid in full.
“We are struggling with our police and everything else. That kind of money makes no sense.”
King told WKBN he’s going to pay $80,000 to $120,000 a year until his taxes are caught up. He was still unable to sit down for an interview. King’s lawyers were not available to comment either.