Delinquent taxes an issue in election
Published 1:18 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018
By Beth Alston
AMERICUS — According to the Sumter County Tax Commissioner website, on Wednesday, May 2, Mike Cheokas, a Republican candidate for the State House District 138 seat, paid $132,000 in delinquent property taxes to Sumter County Tax Commissioner Wilkie Smith, 20 days prior to the Primary Election of May 22.
The tax issue had become a popular topic of discussion among local citizens. Sumter County’s public schools are funded through Sumter County property taxes. At least four citizens attending the political forum on April 26 hosted by the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce and AKA Sorority, submitted questions on delinquent taxes, but none of them were asked of the candidates by the moderator.
After hearing multiple comments about delinquent taxes, the Times-Recorder investigated the local candidates. Here’s what was revealed through tax records.
Multiple pieces of property owned by Cheokas were delinquent on Sumter County taxes. These properties included several of Cheokas’ business holdings, as well as his personal residence. Among those properties with delinquent taxes listed on the website on May 1 were the following.
• $30,719.02 for EZ Storage and Suites on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
• $41,066.19 for Troy Hill on East Glessner Street
• $18,269.54 for Troy Hill on South Lee Street
• $16,659.15 for the former Manhattan shirt factory on Tripp Street
• $6,903.49 for Cheokas’ personal residence on Lake Collins
• $5,721.06 for Cheokas and Cheokas Inc. on Tripp Street
• $31.26 for Apostle Michael Arthur Cheokas on Tripp Street
• $1,047.48 for Michael A. Cheokas on Tripp Street
• $91.03 for Michael A. Cheokas on Tripp Street
• $82.88 for Michael A. Cheokas on Tripp Street
• $1,498.51 for Michael A. Cheokas on Tripp Street
• $444.26 for Michael A. Cheokas on Tripp Street
There are many others as well. Being that this information is public record, anyone can visit www.sumtercountygatax.com and search anyone’s tax records.
The total delinquent tax bill for Cheokas’ county holdings was $129,224.99 and the total for his city holdings was $30,576.38 with a grand total of $159,801.37 in delinquent taxes.
The Americus Times-Recorder also checked the tax rolls for the other local candidates.
Herschel Smith III, a Republican candidate for State House Seat 138, owes nothing in local taxes.
Bardin Hooks, a Democrat candidate for State House Seat 138, also owes nothing.
Randy Howard, incumbent, and Scott Randall Roberson are both seeking the District 4 seat on the Sumter County Board of Commissioners. Neither owed any delinquent local taxes as of May 1.
Mark Waddell, incumbent, is running unopposed for his District 2 seat on the Sumter County Board of Commissioners. He owed no delinquent Sumter County taxes as of May 1.