County sells land to East Norriton for trails

Dan Clark of the Times Herald reports:

NORRISTOWN >> For $5, East Norriton purchased five parcels of land held in the county’s repository hoping to turn the empty lots into part of a trail that will eventually connect to trails in Plymouth Township and Norristown.

Montgomery County commissioners approved the sale to East Norriton at their meeting on Thursday.

“My office works very hard to be proactive and come up with a lot of ways for different levels of government to work together,” county Treasurer Jason Salus said. “To that end, several months ago we undertook an initiative whereby we notified all the surrounding property owners and school districts where parcels in the county property repository were located.”

Salus explained that repository properties are those that have gone unsold at tax sales.

“As part of that effort one of our notices went out to East Norriton Township notifying the local elected officials that there were a number of abandoned parcels, five, along the Sawmill Creek that were available for purchase,” Salus said.

Officials from East Norriton had expressed interest in the properties because they were in the process of obtaining other parcels of land for a pedestrian trail along the Sawmill Creek, Salus said.

The parcels of land are all in the flood plain and not big enough to develop on, he said.

“We’ve acquired about 20 of these properties along that stream already and we’re trying to join them all together and eventually build a trail that will connect to Norristown’s Sawmill Creek Trail that they’re in the planning process of with Montgomery County,” East Norriton Township Manager Donald Delamater said. “And in the other end connect to the Plymouth Township municipal complex trail. It would be a regional link that we’re hoping to achieve there.”

All of the land was given to residents as door prizes by movie theaters early in the 20th century. A previous article in The Reporter, a sister publication of The Times Herald, movie theaters would offer small plots of land as door prizes to encourage people to come to the movies.

However, the landowners often did not pay the taxes and did not do anything with the land. The land that ended up in the repository could not be sold at a tax sale.

“They gave these away as some kind of door prize, but then people had to pay property tax on them and it wasn’t exactly much of a gift,” commissioners’ Vice-Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh said.

Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro commended Salus for finding a way to take the land off of the repository and for finding a good use for it.

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Montgomery County raises $2.1M selling tax-delinquent properties

Dan Clark of the Times Herald reports:

After about an hour and a half of auctioning on Thursday, 33 Montgomery County properties were sold to several bidders during county treasurer’s upset real estate tax sale.

Including transfer tax the new property owners had to pay, the county brought in $2,121,021.20 from Thursday’s sale. Typically, a large portion of the money that comes in from the sale goes the school district the property owes taxes to. The rest of money, most often, is split evenly between the municipality or borough of the property and the county.

According to Salus, 1,294 homes were on the list for Thursday’s sale. However, 1,100 of those property owners paid to take their homes off of the sale list. Salus said some came to the treasurer’s office Thursday morning before the sale to pay their back taxes. $7.4 million in unpaid taxes were taken in from the 1,100 property owners, who paid to have their property taken off of the sale list.

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Colonial School District to receive more than $100K in delinquent property taxes

Dan Clark of the Times Herald reports:

COURTHOUSE—The Colonial School District is due to receive roughly $137,000 in delinquent property taxes after the property owners of a vacant Whitemarsh Township property agreed to pay the taxes rather than have the property go up for auction.

The owners of Joshua Hill, an undeveloped piece of land spanning over 11 acres in Whitemarsh Township off of Joshua Road, have been delinquent in paying property taxes since 1989, according to Montgomery County Treasurer Jason Salus. The property, an empty lot that was supposed to be developed for residential use, was slated to be sold at auction Thursday. However, on Wednesday the owners agreed to pay the back taxes in a sum on $400,000 by the end of the year.

On Wednesday, Salus said the owners have paid $200,000. If they do not pay the remaining $200,000 by Dec. 31, the property will be on the list for a judicial sale in January.

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Montgomery County Sells Off Properties of Deadbeat Owners To Satisfy Taxes

Brad Segall of KYW Newsradio 1060 reports:

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Montgomery County, Pa. has auctioned off some properties owned by tax deadbeats in an effort to get those houses into the hands of new owners and back on the tax rolls.

The minimum bid for one house on West Indian Lane in West Norriton (top photo), was just over $2,700.   By the time the intense bidding ended, the house sold for $275,000.

“…for the properties where the owner basically and effectively walks away from them, getting them into the hands of a new owner who will pay taxes going forward and recover much of the delinquency during the sale process as possible,” explains county treasurer Jason Salus.

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MontCo Treasurer Set For Delinquent Private Sales

Joe Zlomek of The Post reports:

NORRISTOWN PA – With approval granted last month by Montgomery County commissioners, Treasurer Jason Salus said Tuesday (Aug. 5, 2014) he’s ready to conduct private sales of eligible tax-delinquent properties within the county. With proper legal guidance, Salus indicated, that may allow prospective buyers to quickly find housing bargains among abandoned parcels.

Eligible properties are those on which county taxes are owed and in arrears, and which were exhibited but not sold at the county’s “Upset Sale,” Salus said. Privately offering the parcels for sale after the general public shows no interest in them is one way “to return delinquent parcels to the tax rolls and maximize county revenue at no additional cost to taxpayers,” Salus said.

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Taxpayers’ Watchdog: Upper Providence Tax Collector Investigation

The Treasurer is one of the fiscal watchdogs in Montgomery County government. Independently-elected local tax collectors collect taxes for the county, our school districts and municipalities. In the middle of last year, we identified a problem local tax collector who became unresponsive and failed to file timely reports with our office. In addition, we came to understand that many taxpayers attempted to pay their taxes, but were unable to. We subsequently suspended the collector’s pay and began working with the County Controller to unravel the books and freeze her bank accounts.

While our delinquent tax collection process in that community was delayed and certain collection fees were temporarily waived, we have not become aware of any missing funds at this time. However, we will continue to remain vigilant to protect our tax dollars. Read the news coverage here.

Montco gets 11 properties back on tax rolls

Margaret Gibbons of The Intelligencer reports:

The Montgomery County treasurer’s office will be able to restore 11 properties to the tax rolls.

The properties, previously owned by tax deadbeats, were snapped up at a judicial property sale held by the treasurer’s office Tuesday at the Montgomery County Courthouse.

“The benefit of a judicial sale is that we take properties that are chronically delinquent and then, through a competitive process, get these properties into the hands of new owners who will pay taxes,” said treasurer Jason Salus.

In addition to getting the properties back on the tax rolls, the revenue generated above and beyond the administrative costs in processing each property goes back to the county, the municipality and the school district on a pro-rated basis, explained Salus.

Tuesday’s auction of the properties, which were sold “as is,” generated about $162,732 after costs were deducted, according to Salus.

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Montco to auction off properties owned by tax deadbeats

Margaret Gibbons of The Intelligencer reports:

Montgomery County is preparing to sell about 40 properties at its annual judicial real estate tax sale, according to county Treasurer Jason E. Salus.

“There can be some good investment properties, but you have to do your homework first and I can’t emphasize that enough,” said Salus.

In addition, others are no longer on the list because the owners have made arrangements to pay the back taxes owed on the parcels, according to Salus.

All the properties up for sale Tuesday have been offered in prior tax sales but weren’t sold, Salus said.

Unlike regular tax sales, when a bidder is not only responsible for back taxes but for other liens against the land, these properties are being offered free and clear of all liens, according to Salus. The minimum bid for a property offered in a judicial sale must only cover the costs of prior attempts to collect the unpaid taxes on the property, including advertising and notifications, said Salus.

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