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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Montco doe-hunting licenses are available

Jessica Parks of The Inquirer reports:

NORRISTOWN Doe-hunting licenses for the 2014-2015 season will be available to Pennsylvania residents starting Monday.

The application process and fee for each license, $6.70, have not changed, but Montgomery County treasurer Jason Salus said fewer licenses will be available this year.

“These licenses sell out quickly every year, and as a result of a decreased allocation across the commonwealth, this year is likely to be no different,” Salus said.

Each license allows one hunter to bag one antlerless deer. But if there are still licenses available in August, residents may apply to obtain a second or third permit.

Applications must be mailed to the Treasurer’s Office at 1 Montgomery Plaza, Sixth Floor, P.O. Box 311, Norristown, Pa. 19404.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has allocated 779,500 permits statewide, with 113,000 of those designated to Southeast Pennsylvania. Last year, only 218,640 antlerless deer were harvested statewide.

For more information on hunting licenses, visit

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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 treasurer opens office for health insurance sign up

Margaret Gibbons of The Intelligencer reports:

Montgomery County Treasurer Jason Salus is throwing open the doors of his county office Sunday to help people enroll for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

None of his landlords were aware of Salus’ plan nor did he seek their OK, according to county Communications Director Frank X. Custer.

The treasurer’s office is in the county-owned One Montgomery Plaza office building across Swede Street from the county courthouse in Norristown.

One of his landlords, Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., said it was not up to him to tell Salus, a Democrat serving his first four-year term as treasurer, what he can or cannot do.

“I did not know that the treasurer was doing this,” Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr., the lone Republican on the board, said Saturday night. “However, he is an elected official and, as far as I’m concerned, has access to his office at all hours of every day to carry out what he believes to be his duties.

“It is not for me as a commissioner to define for him what his duties are,” said Castor. “It is for him to use his best judgment within the bounds of his statutory powers and subject to oversight by the voters.”

Salus said he believes he is providing a “constituent service.”

He said he contacted security officials, who told him they are in the building at that time (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and “all typical safeguards are already in place.”

Some staff members, said Salus, have volunteered their time to make the office available.

Certified health navigators from the nonprofit Resources for Human Development, a Philadelphia-based social service organization, will be on hand to help residents enroll in a health insurance plan. The organization has a federal grant to provide these services.

Salus said more than 50 people already have registered to come in and sign up for health care coverage.

“I think that is fantastic,” said Salus.

The open enrollment sign-up deadline is Monday.

The county treasurer is an independently elected row officer and not subject to the jurisdiction of the county commissioners.

The treasurer is the custodian of all county funds, according to that office’s web page. Payments of county taxes and fees, state and federal grants, and other funds due the county are received and deposited by the office.

Read the entire article here.

Salus appointed to Tuition Account Program Advisory Board

From The Reporter:

Montgomery County Treasurer Jason Salus has been appointed to serve on Pennsylvania’s Tuition Account Program (TAP) Advisory Board.

The 19- member board, which includes the State Treasurer and the chancellor of the State System of Higher Education, reviews and studies the work of the Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program, which provides Pennsylvania families with a tax-advantaged vehicle to help save for their children’s higher education. With a record-breaking 181,000 accounts and $3 billion in assets, the program plays a critical role in helping families combat the rising cost of college tuition. Salus was appointed by Pennsylvania House Speaker Sam Smith, on the recommendation of Minority Leader Frank Dermody.

Salus, whose wife Lisa is a public school teacher, was enthusiastic about the opportunity to work on higher educational finance and savings programs in the Commonwealth. “I look forward to working with leaders from across the Commonwealth to help more Pennsylvania families attain the opportunity to attend college. This is a terrific complement to my work in reforming delinquent tax collection for our Montgomery County school districts, which has resulted in dramatically accelerated collections and nearly $500,000 of savings in collections costs for our public schools this year. We need to work on all fronts to make education more accessible and affordable for Pennsylvania families.”

Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord welcomed Treasurer Salus to the board.

“Jason Salus understands the importance of higher education and training – and the importance of raising awareness about Pennsylvania’s 529 plans and related tax advantages. Jason’s keen eye for efficiency and his experience in public and private sector finance will make him a valuable member of the TAP Advisory Board, where every dollar saved or earned is a dollar that furthers someone’s higher education,” McCord said.

Read the entire article 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.

Read the entire article here.

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.

Read the entire article here.

Pew Study Cites Montco Treasurer’s Strategy

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a study examining the problems, and potential solutions, to Philadelphia’s delinquent tax collection challenges. The Montgomery County Treasurer’s office was interviewed for the study. The study identifies our new hybrid delinquent real estate tax collection program as a strategy for collecting delinquent taxes and identifies strict timelines for collection – one of the many benefits of our program – in improving collections.

You can read the entire report here.

“Very effective”

Tony Fioriglio of the Times Herald reports:

According to [Norristown Area School District Chief Financial Officer Anne] Rohricht, the district was able to keep its real estate tax increase below the threshold permitted by Act 1 of 2006 through a variety of revenue sources, most notably an increase in the collection of delinquent taxes after a switch in the tax collection services offered by Montgomery County.

“The new model that the county is using has proven to be very effective for school districts like the Norristown Area School District,” Rohricht said. “We are simply very pleased with the returns that we are seeing with the county tax collection services.”

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