Plymouth Township Supervisor Shannon Price faces critics in July meeting
Aug. 29, 2015 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Allegations that Plymouth Township Treasurer Ron Edwards withheld refund payments due a commercial taxpayer have been allayed following a meeting last Tuesday.
Principles from Viola Holdings, owners of VersaTrans, who claimed that Edwards withheld the final payments from the Wayne County Land Bank TURBO tax rebate program, said they have agreed to a four-week wait for payment after a meeting with township officials and representatives from Wayne County last Tuesday.
Jared Rodriquez, acting as a business consultant and spokesperson for Viola, said an agreement was reached during a meeting with Township Supervisor Shannon Price and Edwards, along with representatives from the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. Rodriquez said company officials will wait an agreed upon four-weeks for a response from Wayne County after receiving a promise from county officials to investigate the delayed tax rebate.
“We had a good meeting…they did their due diligence and we’re happy with the progress,” said Rodriquez after the meeting.
In an Aug. 6 letter addressed to the entire township board, Rodriquez, representing Viola and VersaTrans, demanded immediate action regarding an overdue tax refund as part of the Wayne County Land Bank TURBO program. The estimated amount is $10,000.
It is the responsibility of the local municipal treasurer, in this case Edwards, to send the collected tax revenue to Wayne County which then acts as an agent and mails the rebate to the qualifying Land Bank taxpayer. In his letter, Rodriquez blamed Edwards and accused him of withholding the tax money that should have gone to the county.
Price mentioned the conflict between Viola and Edwards during the regular meeting of the board of trustees last Tuesday evening, explaining that despite the allegations by Viola officials, the problem was actually caused by the erroneous removal of VersaTrans from the TURBO program by someone in the offices at Wayne County.
“The county removed them from the Land Bank and therefore the township could not give them payment because they were no longer in the Land Bank,” Price said.
“In order to fix the problem, the township has to send a letter to the Wayne County Treasurer asking him to re-instate the Viola properties into the Land Bank for 2013,” Price said.
The letter detailing the situation and requesting that VersaTrans be reinstated in the Land Bank TURBO program was sent to the county offices from the township on Tuesday, Price said. He added that county officials have indicated that when the letter is received, the tax refund check will be cut within four weeks.
“There was great concern from the Board of Regents as to how the Land Bank was being handled once the executive section was shut down…like who was in charge, how it has been handled. When (Warren) Evans turned the Land Bank over to the Treasury Department, Ray Wojtowicz (Wayne County treasurer) took over.”
Rodriquez, who was not at the board meeting, said that VersaTrans had agreed to wait for the estimated four weeks for their long overdue check.
“We have to take their word for the engagement over the past four weeks, We don’t know the inner-workings of Wayne County, nor Plymouth Township. …This is a situation we’ve been working on for over a year. We expected to close this out—we expected our 2013 payment to come in 2014.”
In his August letter, Rodriguez said Edward’s assistant told them that a check had been sent to the Wayne County Land Bank in April 2015. In his letter, he also complained of deceit and misinformation provided by Edwards. He maintains that the funds should have been sent to the county from the township.
“I don’t know where the Edwards’ check is at,” he said.
Speculation was that the ongoing dispute between VersaTrans and the township regarding the tax refund check may have been either the cause or effect of VersaTrans’ refusal to donate funds to the township fireworks and picnic for the first time this year.
“I don’t know why they didn’t donate this year,” Rodriquez said. “Ultimately we just want to close this out. We’ve spent a great deal of time, energy and money to track this down. It’s unfortunate it had to go to this.
“We’re going to monitor the situation,” he said.