PORTAGE - The village mayor and his wife, who serves on council, owe over $4,000 in property taxes on their Main Street home.
Mark, whose legal first name is William, and Marcia Wolford, however, shrug off the charges and say their personal business doesn't affect the village, or anyone else.
"I forget things. I truly do," the mayor said after Monday's council meeting. "It's just the cost of being me."
"It's not like we have never paid them. They always get paid," Marcia Wolford added.
The Wolfords owe $4,009.68, according to public information available online.
Wood County Treasurer Jill Engle said the Wolfords were delinquent in April 2007 on the home and land at 326 Main St., then the bill was paid in full.
"Then he paid nothing in 2008 and in 2009 he has made a couple payments of $600, $800," Engle said.
Next fall if the taxes remain unpaid, they will receive a 30-day warning from the prosecutor and foreclosure proceedings begin. At that time, the Wolfords could pay in full or agree to a five-payment contract.
If nothing's settled, Engle said, in fall 2011, the property would be sold at a sheriff's sale. She said a property must be two full years delinquent before it goes into foreclosure.
Engle said tax delinquencies in general are high for Wood County right now.
"For an elected official to have delinquent taxes is very uncommon," she said. "It's discouraging."
A check of the other council members, village administrator and clerk-treasurer in Portage found none owes property taxes in Wood County.
According to online records through the Wood County Auditor, the Wolfords bought their home in January 1998 for $86,000.
Portage has been in fiscal emergency with the state since April. Council imposed a 1 percent income tax on residents in January and plans on putting another 1 percent income tax on the May ballot as part of its recovery efforts.
Wolford was asked if he was setting a bad example for residents by not paying his taxes.
"No, not at all, because it's the way I've been all my life," he said. "It's not that I'm doing something new. I'm still the person I am. I'm just in the public eye."
He said he has not paid the 1 percent income tax in the village yet this year.
"My tax person said we'll worry about that next year," the mayor said.
Last month, Wolford was served a warrant for failing to pay fines for old health code violations.
The Wood County Sheriff's Office served the warrant Sept. 24 on Wolford while he was bowling in Bowling Green. He paid an $870 bond and was released.
Wolford was appointed mayor last year. He is running unopposed for the position in the Nov. 3 election.
"Everybody in town knows who I am É and they must not mind. No one's running against me," he said.
Marcia Wolford, who teaches in Maumee, said the mayor's job consumes her husband's life and is almost a second full-time job. The mayor works at Kroger in the meat department.
The Wolfords also said the loss of their 14-year-old son in a car accident six years ago changed how they view things.
"Having that life-changing experience, we have a totally different perspective on what's important," Marcia Wolford said.