New Castle News


March 7, 2013

Printing company blames county for mailing delays

NEW CASTLE — The owner of a company hired to mail Lawrence County’s tax bills said the treasurer delayed the mailing date twice.

That happened before the machines at D&H Marketing Concepts Inc. broke down last week, owner Joe DeGruttola explained Wednesday.

DeGruttola rebutted Treasurer Richard Rapone’s comments that he was “disappointed,” and alluded that DeGruttola acted unprofessionally about his company not yet sending out some of the 2013 county property tax statements.

The county has contracted for two years with D&H to print and mail more than 54,000 tax statements to property owners. Last year’s bills were mailed on time.

This year, some taxpayers are asking why they don’t have their bills yet, which cuts into their discount period, and owners of multiple properties are asking why they’ve gotten some bills but not all.

Last year, D&H had 12 to 15 working days scheduled for getting the bills ready to mail, DeGruttola explained. The process was to be the same this year, but one obstacle was that the county is using new software to generate billing data and the new data company was installing it and training the county staff.

Around Feb. 12, the treasurer’s office sent DeGruttola an email requesting to push the mailing date back to Feb. 25.

“That consequently pushes me back on all of my other jobs,” he said. “I have other vendors doing quite a bit of mailing.”


DeGruttola said he was using the same machines to process 200,000 pieces of mail for two other customers. Those clients’ work arrived on time, while the county’s got pushed back at its request, he said.

Then, the treasurer’s office delayed the mailing again to Feb. 26, he said.

“We were taxing our machines and we went into overtime on Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

He claims he had only seven working days to complete the county’s job instead of 15.

“We got 80 percent of the mailings out,” he said. “Then the machine broke and the rest are being hand-stuffed.” He estimated that is 3,000 to 4,000 tax statements.

When the mailing dates were pushed back, “that put a problem in my pipeline and that throws a wrench into every part of it,” DeGruttola said, adding, “I don’t want it to seem like D&H Marketing didn’t go out of our way, because we sure as heck did.”

He admitted he didn’t inform the county of the breakdown, but he had expected Rapone to call him for an update.

The county hired Evaluator Services and Technology Inc. of Greensburg last year to install new software in the treasurer’s, assessor’s and tax claim offices.

The new tax bills include a notice that a third-party convenience fee is being charged to those who pay by credit card. Rapone said one reason the date was pushed back was because Commissioner Bob Del Signore didn’t understand the concept of charging the convenience fee.

Del Signore had become angry at a commissioners meeting two weeks ago and said he wouldn’t rest until Gene Porterfield, EST’s president, met with him to explain it. They met Feb. 20 and resolved the matter and the commissioners approved the fee Feb. 26.

The printing of the bills could not begin until after the Feb. 20 meeting, because the fee disclosure has to be on them, Rapone said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.


    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

House Ads

The Steelers opened training camp this weekend. How do you see them faring this season?

Super Bowl
Division champs
Wild card team
Missing playoffs for a third straight year
     View Results