Ridgecrest pays back taxes to IRS

Published 12:03 am Saturday, December 1, 2012

RIDGECREST — The second Concordia Parish community in as many months was released from a tax lien Thursday after the village aldermen decided to borrow approximately $27,800 from the town road fund to pay back taxes.

Ridgecrest Mayor Dwayne Sikes said the aldermen voted Wednesday to remit to the Internal Revenue Service payroll taxes owed from 2010 through the first quarter of 2012.

“The taxes from 2010 and 2011 were owed because the previous mayoral administration didn’t pay them, and the ones from the first quarter of this year, for some reason our clerk at the time did not pay it then, which neither the mayor or the board was aware of that,” Sikes said.

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The administration became aware of the back taxes owed when the IRS filed a lien with its banks for the 2010 taxes, Sikes said.

After the bank contacted the village about the lien, the aldermen checked with the state auditors and got permission to loan themselves money from the village’s road fund to pay off what was owed. Because the money came from a designated fund, it will have to be repaid to that fund.

Sikes said he drove the check to pay the back taxes to the IRS office in Alexandria Thursday.

While the lien was only for the 2010 taxes, Sikes said the board decided to pay off everything that was owed outright.

Before the lien was filed, the IRS had tried to contact the village three times, but the administration was not aware of the contact until receiving a certified letter, Sikes said.

“Somehow, me or the board didn’t know anything about the three regular letters until they sent this one that had to be signed for,” he said.

The mayor said the aldermen will decide how much the monthly installments for the road fund repayments will be at their next meeting.

Sikes became mayor in November 2011 when former Mayor Kevin Graham resigned. Graham and former Clerk Dana Delaughter were indicted on charges of malfeasance in office, theft of town funds greater than $1,500 and false accounting in July and pleaded “not guilty” to the charges in August.

A state audit alleged Delaughter did not deposit almost $57,000 in utility payments, overstated utility collections by approximately $25,800 to the aldermen and issued herself payroll checks for almost $1,900. The audit alleged Graham used approximately $4,000 in grant funds to buy a water pump and other equipment for personal use.

Delaughter was fired in January. The clerk who replaced Delaughter, Cyndie Dillon, was fired in August after the aldermen alleged insubordination on her part.