Mayoral hopeful Arthur G. Pappas paid $1,113 in delinquent property taxes Friday, in the wake of a letter from city Republican Committee Chairman William L. Paton warning all likely GOP candidates that they'd better have their taxes paid up.
Pappas said he made the payments on two boathouses and a vacant lot he owns on the banks of Tonawanda Creek because of Paton's letter and inquiries from The Buffalo News.
In response to inquiries by The News, City Treasurer Leslie J. Stolzenfels said there was no history of tax delinquency on the part of any of the other mayoral candidates: Republican incumbent David J. Burgio, County Legislature Clerk Michael P. Carney or Alderman at Large Lawrence V. Soos, the endorsed Democratic candidate.
Taxes on Pappas' home weren't late, but Stolzenfels said the Board of Education president has a history of being late in payments on his waterfront properties. They are boathouses at 545 Sweeney St. and 30 Weatherbest Slip Road, and a vacant lot that once hosted a boathouse at 29 Weatherbest Slip.
"Since 2000, he's never made a payment on time," Stolenfels said.
She said Pappas owed $1,441.81 in 2004-05 school taxes and 2005 county taxes on all three parcels. In addition, 2004 city taxes were owed on 29 Weatherbest and unpaid water bills at 545 Sweeney.
The 2005 city tax bills will be sent out Monday and were not included in the figures.
Pappas said the problems stemmed in part from poor communication. "One of the reasons it wasn't paid was because we never received the county bill. We didn't receive the county bill on any of them," he said.
He also said there had been a problem with overassessment, especially at 29 Weatherbest, where a former owner abandoned a boathouse, which collapsed in the late 1990s. The city had a private contractor demolish it, but Pappas said the contractor never received a building permit, and the city assessor was never notified the building was gone.
He said Stolzenfels told him she would correct the assessments on the city property. "As of (Friday), the city still has me listed as delinquent for 2004. They're correcting it now," Pappas said.
Stolenfels said Pappas had paid about $150 in late fees on the three parcels since 2000.