Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Education

Pinellas School Board candidate hasn't paid property taxes

Beverley Billiris, a candidate for the Pinellas County School Board and former mayor of Tarpon Springs, hasn't paid her property taxes.

Billiris, 66, and her husband, George, 87, owe $6,990 in unpaid taxes from 2013 on their home and commercial property, both in Tarpon Springs. The couple fell behind on their taxes, she said, because of an illness in the family. Both bills should be paid within a few months, she said.

"I'm doing the best I can under the circumstances," she said, declining to offer the public more details about the illness.

Billiris is one of three candidates for the District 4 seat, which includes Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor and parts of Clearwater. She faces Ken Peluso, a retired chiropractor and former chairman of the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas, and John Nygren, a retired teacher, in the Aug. 26 primary.

Peluso said he believes "our elected leaders should demonstrate fiscal responsibility, both in business and their personal lives."

Nygren said he had "no comment at all."

"That's a personal thing with her. It has nothing to do with the race," he said.

The non-partisan seat opened up after Robin Wikle unexpectedly announced in February that she would resign in the middle of her term. Five of seven School Board seats are in play this year.

According to the Pinellas County Tax Collector's office, Billiris owes $2,530 on her house and $4,460 on a commercial property. The couple's business, Sponge Merchant International, and a parking lot are located on the commercial property.

Billiris said they plan to pay the house bill this month and the commercial bill within a few months.

The couple has been late paying property taxes several times in recent years.

If Billiris is elected to the School Board, she won't be the only member with unpaid property taxes. Board member Janet Clark, who won re-election two years ago, owes $2,396.

Contact Cara Fitzpatrick at [email protected] Follow @fitz_ly.

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