Brackenridge tries more ways to go after delinquent taxes, blight

Tuesday, September 10, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Carly Cahur
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Brackenridge Council has compiled a list of properties to keep track of tax delinquents and deteriorated structures.

Council decided in the spring to survey borough and Allegheny County records to catalog properties that are vacant and dilapidated in response to residents’ complaints about blight.

The list will serve as a starting point for the borough to take action against owners of the properties in question.

“We ended up with 38 liens (delinquent properties),” Council President Tim Connelly said. “Most of the liened properties have people living in them, and I don’t know, I guess they just decided to stop paying taxes.”

Of those 38 properties, Connelly said 15 are or will be targeted for demolition.

“There’s some scary places,” Connelly said.

He said he had a meeting scheduled with representatives of the Keystone Collections Group about aggressively pursuing unpaid taxes from delinquent property owners.

In addition, Connelly said the borough would be forwarding its list of properties to Highlands School District officials in order to help them collect delinquent school taxes.

Neighbors can buy deadbeat properties

Council also on Thursday discussed the Allegheny County program where property owners who are up to date with their taxes can acquire a vacant property abutting theirs. Connelly said when the properties are purchased through the program, the delinquent taxes owed on them are erased.

Councilman Randy Elliott, who acquired a neighboring property through that program, told council he paid the appraised price of $800. He said the process took about three years.

However, Lindsay Fraser, a resident of Atlantic Avenue and a former code enforcement official for Harrison, said it doesn’t necessarily take that long. She said she knew of someone in Harrison who bought a property through the program and it only took that person a year to finalize the sale.

Connelly said the borough can’t sell all of the vacant properties because owners of some properties continue to pay taxes on those lots.

He added that not all of the properties where structures were demolished by the borough carry liens for the costs of the demolition.

Connelly said properties that had structures torn down with the cost paid by the borough can be liened for those costs. The lien must be satisfied before a property can be sold.

Other properties where demolitions occurred but were paid for with grant funding through the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments can’t be liened for those costs, Connelly said.

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