Property Tax Allegations Heat Up Enfield Mayoral Race
Posted September 9, 2002 6:07 a.m. EDT
ENFIELD, N.C. — The highest paid mayor in the state is now accused of owing $16,000 in late property taxes. The allegation is heating up the town's race for mayor.
The town board stoked the campaign fire in July, voting 3-2 on raising salaries for themselves and Hardaway despite a $120,000 budget shortfall. Hardaway's salary went from $400 to $2,000 a month. Hardaway is now facing tax foreclosure proceedings because of $16,000 in unpaid property taxes, some going as far back as 1996.
"I've had some property, some property that was questionable about the ownership of that property because I only own one parcel of property," he said.
For that one parcel, Hardaway owes more than $5,000. He is also the registered agent and sole officer for Cofield Realty, which owes more than $11,000.
"Why should he be worrying about paying taxes? We're going to be doing it for him and that's just not right," mayoral candidate Edward Jones said.
Jones and Timothy English hope to unseat Hardaway, but the incumbent mayor has strong support despite his tax problems.
"There's a lot more that hadn't paid property tax," said Bernadine Garrett, who supports Hardaway.
Opponents say the issues are character, accountability and power.
"We have no public works director, no town manager, he runs the Police Department. He runs the board. He is the town of Enfield," said Peggy Etheridge, who supports Jones.
The Enfield mayoral race has been delayed since last November due to redistricting matters. Tuesday's vote is not a primary, but will decide who the new mayor will be along with two town commissioners.