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Norwich - Two Republican and two Libertarian candidates running for City Council or Board of Education this fall owe back taxes to the city ranging from $238 to $578 mostly on motor vehicle taxes, according to the city tax collector's office.
Libertarian council candidate Cyndia Shook owes the highest amount, totaling $578.08 in taxes and interest on one vehicle over the past two years. Fellow Libertarian council candidate Chandler Alfred, Jr. owes $402.43 over the past three years on one vehicle.
Republican council candidate William Nash, a former alderman, owes $298.12 for one year on a vehicle.
Republican Board of Education member and candidate Dennis Slopak owes $189.71 on a vehicle over the past year and another $54.78 on business equipment for his real estate appraisal business.
Tax bills as of Sept. 1
Tenley Nelson, collector of delinquent taxes for the city, calculated the back taxes and interest owed by candidates at the request of The Day. The amounts represent taxes and interest owed as of Sept. 1, Nelson said.
School board member Aaron Daniels owed a total of $238.35 on four vehicles over the past year according to Nelson's calculations. But when contacted by The Day on Saturday, Daniels said he paid the taxes Saturday night online on the city's website.
"I took care of it," Daniels said. "I thought it was already done. The money was sitting in the bank ready to go."
Three of the four candidates reached for comment Saturday said they are aware of the back bills and cited difficult economic circumstances for the delinquency.
"I aware of it, and have to pay it," Shook said. "I got a second notice. There were some financial reasons."
Nash, a two-term former alderman, withdrew from his 2011 re-election bid in September of that year citing unfair criticism surrounding $200 in overdue motor vehicle taxes he owed at the time.
On Saturday, Nash said he has made one payment on his back taxes and paid "a little bit" on remaining bills. He said he told the tax collector's office that he would pay off the bill as best he can. He expects to have the car tax paid by the end of September.
Nash said he has had to make priorities among mortgage bills, lights, oil, food and gasoline for his car to go to work and look for a job.
"I'm struggling horribly and am trying to do the best I can to keep my family afloat," Nash said.
Nash, who retired on disability as a Norwich police officer, said he was laid off from his security job Dec. 15, and is not collecting a pension from the city, because he had been working. He recently obtained two jobs and said "I expect to get back on my feet soon."
Slopak, a first-term Board of Education member, said he has had to make similar financial decisions to prioritize bills. Slopak, who works as a real estate appraiser, said a change in federal regulations four years ago forced appraisers to work for appraisal management firms rather than directly for banks.
He said the appraisal firm he did much of his work with declared bankruptcy, owing him $5,600 for work done. Slopak said it bothers him to owe back taxes, especially because he served for six years on the Norwich Board of Tax Review.
"(The taxes) will get paid when I can," Slopak said. "I had to make sure the mortgage got caught up."
Alfred could not be reached for comment.
While the City Council race is crowded this fall, with 13 candidates running for six seats, there is no race for Board of Education, with six Democrats and three Republicans running for the nine slots.