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Kay, Casto and Chaney consultant Gary Swingle, provided the Madison City Council with an update on their federal tax debt on Feb. 1.

MADISON — The City of Madison received an update from Kay, Casto and Chaney consultant Gary Swingle, who was hired by the city to represent it in its collective tax debt to the federal government.

According to Swingle, the city has reduced the debt from $824,000 to $522,336, with $137,237 representing the current balance of the taxes, $281,724 left in penalties, and $103,335 in accumulated interest.

Swingle said Madison’s initial $230,000 installment paid in January 2020, coupled with regular $5,000 monthly payments, have led to the city’s good standing with the IRS. He also stated that the progress made by the city has alleviated any legal responsibility by elected officials who were serving at the time the debt was accumulated.

“The IRS doesn’t have to forgive penalties and they don’t have to forgive interest, but they can,” he said. “When they have a cooperative taxpayer — which we have been — we’ve lived up to every promise and paid consistently and we’re in good graces with this collection agent and I believe he will work with us.”

In reference to liens placed on city property by the IRS, Swingle said the liens “are in the process of being released.”

“We worked with the agent and we signed a formal request for the liens to be released so the city can apply for grants, which improve the finances of the city. We received the notice last week that they are going to lift this lien,” Swingle said.

In other City of Madison news, the council voted to approve the purchase of two new patrol cars after a briefing from Councilman PJ Johnson summarized that the city garage was spending too much money keeping old Dodge cruisers safe and in operating mechanical condition for officers.

The 2021 Ford Interceptors will be purchased at 2020 pricing and financed at a combined monthly payment of $1,400 through Ford Municipal Finance. The total price for both vehicles is $76,367.

“All we have to do is drop the radios in and go from there,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Byus.

Councilwoman Carolyn Mullins asked the council whether the city should make those purchases now with the tax debt on the horizon.

Mayor Buddy Hudson and Johnson stated that approximately half of the monthly payment that would be incurred by buying new cruisers is being absorbed in service on older vehicles, which also would relieve employees to work on other city projects and equipment.

Additionally, the council unanimously voted to approve an agreement to pay the electricity bill for lights to be installed on the new Memorial Bridge in Madison on Route 17.

According to the council, the lights will brighten the path for both drivers and those walking in designated areas of the structure.

Madison City Council meets at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the council’s chambers beside the Madison Civic Center at 261 Washington Ave. Call 304-369-2762.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or at 304-307-2401.