Appeals To Legislature

Bellevue Council has voted to appeal to the state legislature to legalize pre-lien interest and penalties after it recently was revealed that the borough has been illegally charging such fees for decades on garbage and delinquent sewage accounts.

Council members voted 8-1 at their regular meeting on May 4 to pass a resolution asking the Pennsylvania General Assembly to amend the state law that makes such fees illegal, and also passed a motion to seek the support of other municipalities in the effort. Council member Joe Scioscia voted against both measures, noting that the state was attempting to protect citizens from local government.

An 80-year old state statute says that interest and penalties on delinquent accounts cannot be assessed until after a lien is filed against the property involved. Bellevue’s solicitor recently discovered that local law has been in violation of this statute for decades. Since the illegality was discovered, all relevant ordinances in Bellevue have been amended. Although officials admit that the borough has collected perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal interest and penalties, they have refused to refund the money to identifiable payers absent individual requests and presentation of proof that the interest and penalties were paid.