Ledyard candidates address property taxes discovered overdue

Ledyard - Four candidates for office in the November municipal elections had overdue property taxes as of Monday, although several of them paid their balance after being contacted by The Day.

Sharon Hightower, a Democrat who is the chairwoman of the Board of Education, had a 2-year-old $1,352.23 sewer assessment and a motor vehicle tax bill of $11.54 overdue. Hightower said she had no knowledge of either and paid them by the next day.

John Marshall, a Republican town councilor who has served for two terms, owes $1,642.65 in real estate taxes. The town tax collector said Marshall had on Friday paid $667.72 in real estate taxes owed and also paid off two motor vehicle tax balances of $127.24 and $205.04.

Marshall, a carpenter who said his work isn't always steady, said he and his wife - the town's animal control officer, Kimlyn Marshall - are chipping away at the balance by putting away $50 a week, which he said is all they can afford.

"Being on the council doesn't make me exempt from the problems of these economic times," Marshall said. "That's why I ran and got elected … to make a difference, to effect change. Because there are people out there in my situation who can't pay their taxes, and I'm one of them."

Steve Eichelberg, a first-term Republican member of the Town Council, had five motor vehicle tax bills totaling $192.65, which he paid Tuesday.

Eichelberg said taxes in Ledyard are "extremely high" due to an anemic tax base.

"Ledyard is really bad about economic development," he said. "No one in Ledyard wants to do economic development. They pay lip service to it, but when it comes to down to it, they want to pay for everything else."

Julia Cronin, a Republican running again for her seat on the Board of Education, owed $158.77 in motor vehicle taxes and $11.73 in personal property taxes.

Cronin said the car tax was on a vehicle she recently purchased and "didn't get paid with the rest" of her taxes. Both were paid the day after she was contacted.

Sharon Wadecki, a Democrat on the Town Council who will be running again for her seat, does not owe any property taxes of her own but has a bill in her name for $3,243.28 because she was appointed the administrator of an estate on Whalehead Road by a probate court judge, she said.

Wadecki said the property, whose owner died without leaving behind a will, was meant to be foreclosed on four years ago and the estate is bankrupt.



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