It’s not surprising that City Councilmember and leading mayoral candidate Abdul Algazali is two years behind on property taxes.
He owes over $12,000 on two buildings on Jos. Campau, and the county now consideres them “forfeited.”
It’s no surprise because Algazali has consistently voted against reasonable tax and fee increases to help balance the city’s budget. Apparently he’s so anti-tax he refuses to pay them.
This could come back to bite him since there is a city charter provision (Section 6-08) that says an elected official who is a “defaulter” to the city will have the votes cast for him or her voided.
That could mean Algazali’s win in the primary election will be thrown out. As we went to print Thursday, the city administration was still mulling over this charter provision and trying to figure out if being two years late in property taxes equals being a defaulter.
The city charter does not define the word defaulter.
The dictionaries we looked at defined being in default as being late in payments.
Whether or not Algazali gets kicked out of the election is not the point. It’s his defiance in being responsible that offends us. Property taxes are the life blood of any community.
If everyone followed Algazali’s example, the city would be financially crippled and unable to continue providing services.
It’s also a slap in the face to the many people who — despite these tough financial times — still pay their taxes on time.
Algazali has shown his disrespect for public office before. During his term on council he has missed repeated council meetings without explanation. He had the gall to finally ask his colleagues on council to excuse his absences after the fact, which they rightly refused.
And for those supporters of Algazali who think this issue is all about allowing John Ulaj, who finished a distant third in the mayoral primary, to make another run for mayor, think again. The charter does not speak to the issue of what happens to election results if a candidate’s votes are voided.
It could be in this case that no one moves up and that Mayor Karen Majewski could run unopposed. These are uncharted waters.
And even if Ulaj faces off with Mayor Karen Majewski the primary election results are pretty clear that Majewski would win hands down.
It’s interesting – and telling — that Algazali’s supporters are silent when it comes to addressing the issue of him not paying his property taxes.