With attorney's help, Newberry Twp. tax collector keeps office in township building

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
The Newberry Township Municipal complex Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

The Newberry Township tax collector's office is still at the township's administrative building on Old Trail Road, despite the Board of Supervisors' efforts to move the office to the sewer authority building by Feb. 1.

Township manager Tony Miller wouldn't say why the township reversed course and allowed tax collector Debra Popp to remain at the township building, citing potential legal issues.

"We’re in discussions with her, so I'm not at liberty to comment on that," he said.

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Popp has served as the township's elected tax collector for 26 years.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in December to move her office to the sewer authority complex at 400 Cly Road, about 3.5 miles away from the township building, citing a lack of space and the need to use her office area for storage.

But Popp has said she was targeted by the board for asking too many questions about an unreleased audit report and a now-abandoned proposal to enact a mercantile license fee on all businesses in the township except salvage yards, which would have benefitted a sitting board member.

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Supervisor Maxine Kaufman accused Popp of feeding information to Newberry Township Breaking News, a local Facebook page that's critical of township officials.

Popp denied the accusation and has said she has nothing to do with the Facebook page.

Popp has said it would be township residents who suffered, particularly older residents, if her office were moved, and that she uses that office location for the convenience of the taxpayers.

"We raised some concerns with the township regarding the proposed transfer of her office, and are continuing to work with them through those issues," Anthony Bowser, Popp's attorney, said Friday.

In addition to moving Popp's office, the board voted to quadruple her rent from $200 a month to $800 a month at the start of the next term and remove her from the township's employee health insurance plan.

Bowser said he's also in discussions with the township about those issues.