DIXON (CBS13) – Just before voters cast their ballots, critics are casting blame, saying a candidate behind on his taxes is unfit to be mayor.
Michael Ceremello is a candidate for mayor in Dixon and owes thousands of dollars in unpaid property taxes.
Despite his debt, he doesn’t feel it sends the wrong message.
“I don’t think it sends any message at all,” Ceremello.
He’s running for public office, but an unapologetic Ceremello calls his unpaid property taxes nobody’s business but his.
“You don’t see any reason voters would have to mistrust your ability to manage money,” CBS13’s Nick Janes asked.
“No, they’ve seen what I’ve done at the city. Why would they?” said Ceremello.
The Dixon city councilman and mayoral candidate owes $8,600 in back taxes on his home because he’s missed payments the last year and a half.
“My own fiscal responsibility here is to make sure I survive just like anyone else, and if you don’t have the money to pay out, you don’t have the money to pay out,” said Ceremello.
This is hardly Ceremello’s first brush with controversy. He was equally outspoken and unapologetic after being caught on camera dropping the f-bomb at a council meeting two years ago.
“Please sit back and shut the (expletive) up,” Ceremello said at the meeting.
He was fined thousands in 2009 for code violations at his home; and now, he owes thousands in taxes. This one could cost him votes.
“Take care of your business, you know what I mean,” voter Dolores Mejia said.
Most voters CBS13 asked think he’s irresponsible or setting a bad example.
“Everybody’s got to pay taxes, no exceptions,” said voter David Wasser.
Though, not everyone’s ready to cast the candidate aside.
“I thought that there were more important issues than what’s going on with his house,” voter Melisa Cunningham said.
Ceremello says he will pay his taxes but won’t say when. But, will he pay at the polls for being so far behind?
“I’m not worried about it,” said Ceremello.