Candidate takes care of his property taxes

Name of Publication: 
Times-Georgian
Excerpt of Article: 

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 9:57 pm

Lester Harmon, who is running against Todd Rothwell to succeed Rick Ford, said he wasn’t even aware of the past-due property taxes.

“My wife handles all of that,” he said last week. “I think she just sent a check the other day. ... They will all be cleared by the middle of next week.”

Sure enough, by Oct. 17 Harmon had paid the $10,228.23 he owed in late property taxes for 2011 and 2012, and even paid his 2013 notes, which aren’t due until Dec. 1.

“I’m not making excuses,” he said. “I am just like most of the people trying to get through this rough economic deal. But as you see, we do pay all of our bills. Sometimes we are late, and as you’ll see I paid all my delinquent fees too.”

The late taxes were for 10 properties Harmon and his wife use for rentals. All are located in Carroll County. ...

Dr. David Shock, associate professor of political science at Kennesaw State University, is an expert on local tax elections.

Shock said that when somebody is running for office, they “need to have all their taxes paid.”

“When you have elected officials who are spending tax money not paying their own taxes, I think it creates a big problem in the minds of most voters when it comes to fiscal responsibility,” Shock said.

Shock acknowledged elected officials sometimes go through tough financial situations, citing in particular a case in which the mayor of Kennesaw filed for bankruptcy a few years ago. But he said the top priority for somebody wanting to be in elected office is to pay property taxes at least.