Three of the candidates running for Crawford County commissioner have a combined debt of more than $16,000 to local and federal governments in overdue tax and municipal services bills. 

A Meadville Tribune investigation of public records at the Crawford County Courthouse has found that as of this month Democrats Sam Byrd Jr. of Meadville and C. Sherman Allen of Conneaut Lake and Republican Daniel Orlasky of Conneaut Lake each owe thousands of dollars — either for property tax bills, liens or both. A lien is a legal claim filed against an individual or property for an unpaid debt. 

The largest debt is owed by Byrd at $7,930.49 for two years worth of overdue real estate taxes, penalties and interest on two separate properties Byrd owns in Meadville, according to records at the Crawford County Treasurer Office. 

“I owe it and I’ll pay it,” Byrd responded when asked for comment about his unpaid real estate tax situation.

“I won’t get nine years to do it,” Byrd said when asked when the outstanding taxes may be paid, referring to Conneaut Lake Park’s history of unpaid overdue property tax bills. “I have to do it. I’m not an entity of public trust.”

Asked for any additional comment, Byrd said, “It must be a slow news day.”

The Internal Revenue Service has a federal tax lien against Allen, filed in 2013, totaling $4,983.74 for federal income tax owed from the years 2000, 2007 and 2009, according to records at the Crawford County Prothonotary Office. The Prothonotary Office is the clerk for civil court matters for the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas. 

Contacted by the Tribune, Allen said he was aware of the IRS tax lien. 

“I think it was paid off awhile ago and then taken off,” Allen said of the lien. “I’ve not gotten notification from them. I had to borrow money from the bank (to pay for it). Unless it’s something else, I think it’s paid.”

A satisfaction notice for the lien has not been filed with the Prothonotary Office, according to records at the office.

Orlasky owes a total of $3,213.42 for two years worth of overdue real estate taxes, penalties and interest and two outstanding sewer liens, according to Treasurer and Prothonotary records. Orlasky said the money owed is for a Summit Township property at 12545 Comstock St. — a property Orlasky said he inherited from his mother a number of years ago. 

“I have made an agreement with the Treasurer’s Office to pay the taxes,” Orlasky said when contacted by the Tribune. A payment plan is noted on the Treasurer Office records.

Orlasky said he was unaware of any outstanding sewage liens on the Comstock Street property until informed by the Tribune. The Conneaut Lake Joint Municipal Authority on Tuesday confirmed to the Tribune that the two sewage liens for unpaid bills still were active.

“I thought I had them up to date,” Orlasky said of the sewage bills on the property. “I’m unaware of it. I received a bill for $78, but it did not say anything was past due.” 

Listed below is how the debt breaks down for each of three candidates.

Byrd’s debt of $7,930.49 breaks down as $4,610.47 in real estate taxes, interest and penalties to Crawford County, Crawford Central School District and the City of Meadville for 2013 and 2014 for a property and building at 404 Poplar St.; and $3,320.02 real estate taxes, interest and penalties owed to the county, school district and city for unpaid real estate taxes in 2013 and 2014 for a property and building at 408 Poplar St. 

Allen’s federal tax lien of $4,983.74 for taxes, interest and penalties was filed by the IRS with the Prothonotary Office on Feb. 4, 2013. The lien breaks down as $523.84 owed for 2000; $1,173.84 owed for 2007; and $3,286.06 owed for 2009. 

Orlasky’s total debt of $3,213.42 breaks down as $2,134.39 for two years worth of overdue real estate taxes, penalties and interest to Crawford County, Conneaut School District and Summit Township for 2013 and 2014 for a property and building at 12545 Comstock St. in the township; $643.53 to Conneaut Lake Joint Municipal Authority for a lien for unpaid sewer services from July 1, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2008, for 12545 Comstock St.; and $435.50 to Conneaut Lake Joint Municipal Authority for a lien for unpaid sewer services from Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2009, for 12545 Comstock St. The Conneaut Lake Joint Municipal Authority filed separate liens against Orlasky at the Prothonotary Office on March 26, 2009, and Sept. 4, 2009.

Orlasky presented the Tribune with a receipt of $1,475.70 that he paid to the sewer authority on Wednesday.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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