ONEONTA _ An Oneonta dance studio owes the city more than $12,000 in back rent for its rehearsal space in the Asa C. Allison Jr. Municipal Building, according to city records.
And city officials said they don't know why it has taken eight months to attempt to collect the money through the threat of eviction.
As of Dec. 12, the Oneonta Dance Center, owned by Megan Tannenbaum, had not paid rent from May to December and made only a partial payment in April, according to records provided by the city.
Mayor John Nader said he does not know why the rent remained overdue for so long without any action being taken.
"I don't have any explanation for it at this point," Nader said.
City Finance Committee Chairman Paul Robinson also said he did not know the dance studio owed that much in back rent.
"I had no idea, or we would have done something drastic sooner," Robinson said Wednesday.
City Attorney David Merzig sent Tannenbaum a letter Dec. 29 warning her that she had 90 days to pay the $20,650 in back rent or vacate the premises.
On Thursday, Tannenbaum said she has begun paying off the balance owed to the city.
The city received a $4,500 payment Jan. 9 and a $3,500 payment Jan. 21, city Chamberlain David Martindale said Wednesday.
"I have been in communication with the city and I am scheduled to be paid up by the end of February. I have paid almost half of my balance already," Tannenbaum said in a prepared statement.
Under the terms of a lease signed with the city in 2005, the Oneonta Dance Center was to pay $2,500 per month for 3,698 square feet of space on two floors of the Allison building, also known as the former armory.
The dance studio has 220 students and more than 50 classes, according to its website.
Robinson, alderman for the city's Second Ward, said his committee was scheduled to discuss the matter at a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, but that meeting was postponed until Monday because of inclement weather.
"Parents of my students have been having hard times, and payments to the studio have therefore been slow, making it difficult to pay my expenses," Tannenbaum said. "I work two other jobs to keep the business running so we can continue offering classes to our students."
Nader said he would like to see that space continue to be occupied at the former armory because it helps liven up a building that sat largely empty for years.
The city acquired the building from the state in 2003 for $1.
"It's a good arrangement as long as we receive payment," Nader said.
Nader said no one at City Hall has discussed collecting interest on the amount owed to the city.