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Schuylkill County News

Schuylkill Commissioners Approve Leasing 3 Subarus for Property Tax Reassessment

Boots gives “the extra mile” new meaning.

Schuylkill County Commissioners were split but ultimately approved a plan to lease 3 Subaru Impreza cars for the Tax Assessment office.

These vehicles will be used by County employees tasked with doing field work during the upcoming property tax reassessment. Over the course of 5 years, the County will pay $18,237 annually to lease the vehicles. These are 5 year leases on each car.

Schuylkill County went outside the County to find the vehicles, getting them from Steve Moyer Subaru, of Leesport, Berks County. The leases are through Mauch Chunk Trust Company, of Jim Thorpe, Carbon County.

Chief Tax Assessor Kent Hatter argued the previous week that these vehicles were necessary to protect employee safety. After all, they’d be equipped with GPS and that’s important because, according to Hatter, it’s not the same world it used to be and road raging drivers put Courthouse employees at risk.

Schuylkill County Approves Leases on 3 Reassessment Subarus

The spend-happy GOP Commissioners Boots Hetherington and George Halcovage approved Hatter’s plan. Democrat Commissioner Gary Hess dissented with his vote but he thinks this was a good idea. Nay, a “great” idea.

“I really don’t have an issue with this. I think it’s a great idea,” Hess said Thursday morning, just before voting against the plan.

Hess explained that the reason he’s voting against it, essentially, is that Hatter is using an out-of-county dealership to get the vehicles. But it’s not because getting the cars from a Schuylkill County dealer would support local businesses who, presumably, hire local employees.

No, it’s because the County wouldn’t get a cut of that sale on the back end. Hess said his vote against the plan is because, “If it was a County vendor, at least we get taxes collected on top of it. That’s where I have a problem with all of this.”

Not one person on the Commissioners board think there’s anything wrong with an American government buying a Japanese car. And not one of them questioned why the County needs 3 vehicles.

According to Hetherington, the Tax Assessment office has one vehicle. It’s in “bad shape” according to what Boots said at their most recent meeting.

He added that he believes Hatter did make several calls to local dealers and those businesses didn’t return calls. When the idea was first mentioned, Hatter said that “one” local dealership didn’t return a call for an offer.

“This was not a case where it was done haphazardly,” Boots said.

He also praised Hatter for going “the extra mile” in finding a better lease deal with the Jim Thorpe bank than was offered by Subaru.


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