By Jamie Wiggan
Two former McKees Rocks councilmembers who once ran together on the same ticket are now facing off in a race for the tax collector’s seat.
Challenger Maribeth Taylor said she’s running against incumbent Tracey Pedersen because she believes the office holds untapped potential for bettering the community’s finances.
“I think the people of McKees Rocks deserve better than what they’re getting,” Taylor said. “I think there’s more the tax collector can do to increase revenue without increasing taxes.”
Should she secure the election in November, Taylor said she would aggressively pursue delinquent taxes and use the tax office to educate the community on a range of available programming for helping low-income homeowners stay on top of their taxes.
“Over the past year I have paid close attention to the sales of real estate in McKees Rocks Borough and realize that there are processes that can be implemented to stop the blight and improve our community,” she said.
Taylor has worked as an office manager, where she oversaw payrolls for a commercial company, and more recently spent eight years with the McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation. She retired in 2019, at which time she also stepped down from the McKees Rocks council, ending a 12-year tenure.
In her re-election bid, Pedersen is standing on her own record since taking office in 2017, where she said the borough’s tax collection rate has increased from 92% to 95% under her watch.
Pedersen also underscored her current efforts to prepare the paperwork for putting 26 “heavily-delinquent” properties up for sheriff’s sale.
“If re-elected, I will continue to pursue tax-delinquent properties to get them back on the tax rolls as well as continue to improve the current borough tax collection rate,” she said in an email response. “This will benefit not only the borough but also the other taxing bodies.”
Before running for tax collector, Pedersen served on the borough’s council from 2016-2017.
She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Duquesne University and has worked as a financial consultant for several corporate firms.
She served in the U.S. armed forces for eight years.
Both candidates are currently battling for the Democratic nomination on May 18. The overall winner will be determined during the November General Election, which is also open to write-ins and Republican nominees, although no Republicans registered for the primary.