First Posted: 3/7/2013
“How’s the family?”
“Did you do any hunting this year”
“Who do you like in this year’s election?”
“While you’re here, sample some of my homemade canned pickles.”
Sounds like a range of conversations you would have visiting family or friends.
It’s not until you hand over your tax payment that reality sets in. You’re at the tax collector’s office.
A feel-like-home visit to the tax office is why a large percentage of Dupont Borough taxpayers make the trip to the office of tax collector Bill Elko.
But that will soon come to an end.
William “Billy” Elko has announced his intentions to not seek re-election as the community’s tax collector. After 28 years as an elected official, he announced, “It’s time to go.”
Nearly three decades ago, Elko launched a successful door-to door-campaign to unseat a 16 -year favored incumbent.
Elko shares the story how he, by chance, decided to run for tax collector. During a visit by the local chief of police at Elko’s family-owned business, the conversation soon turned to politics.
During the discussion, Elko was asked if he were to run for local office, which position would he choose?
“Off the top of my head, I replied, ‘tax collector,’” Elko explained.
The chief passed on the conversation to the current tax collector and, according to the chief, the response was, “Go ahead, let him run. I’ll beat him.”
When told, Elko simply said, “Okay, here I come,” thus setting the stage for a very exciting election. In all, three candidates ran for tax collector in the 1985 primary election but Elko’s grassroots campaign paid off with a stunning victory.
Elko originally collected taxes at the municipal building in his early years as tax collector and later moved to his present location at the family business, Elko’s Bowling Lanes on Main Street.
Soon after, Donna Costello Kasa began to work in the office and has been at Elko’s side for 21 years.
Kasa’s reaction to the announcement was, “I understand Bill’s decision, but I will miss the people. I loved them all.”
While talking about Elko’s decision, Kasa read a card from a resident who thanked Elko for all his years of service and wished him well.
Elko smiled and said,” That’s what’s it’s been all about.”
He added, “Donna has been instrumental in working with all the changes and demands of this office. I couldn’t have done this without her help.”
During the interview, a few residents popped in with one notable comment from Vince Rosato: “I’m only here for the candy.” Elko is well known for keeping a large candy dish filled with assorted chocolates.
Rosato’s comment reminded Kasa about a taxpayer calling, not about office hours or taxes but asking if Billy had any Mounds candy in his dish. “I told him, ‘No, not this week.’ He told me he would call again next week to see if his favorite candy was available before coming in.”
“That’s why I’m not running. It costs too much to keep everyone’s favorite candy,” Elko joked.
Known for his generous support of many local charities and community fund-raising activities, Elko will continue to avail himself in his hometown.
Noted for his cooking and canning skills, he has donated many of his homemade specialties to community churches and organizations. His homemade pizza is a must for league players at the bowling lanes.
Once his terms ends, Elko will continue to work at the bowling alley.
There are over 14 leagues that bowl from August to May plus Elko offers private birthday parties on weekends for children.
In reality, Elko is not retiring - just turning the page.
He will continue to spend time at the office and welcomes area residents to stop by and visit, minus the checkbook. At this point, though, no one knows what will happen to the famously-filled candy dish.