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East McKeesport discusses delinquent property problem

Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, 11:15 p.m.
 

East McKeesport officials are considering establishing a committee to address delinquent and vacant properties next year.

Council discussed that at Thursday night's meeting when borough tax collector Robert Ferrianolo said collections are at 80-90 percent, with more than 115 delinquent properties.

“I don't know exactly what it means to the borough to have these properties sitting there every year,” Ferrianolo said. “When I first came on, there were 115 properties, and that list keeps growing each year.”

Ferrianolo said some are bank foreclosures, and for others the owner has abandoned the property or is deceased.

Borough administrator/secretary Connie Rosenbayger said the committee's research should not be difficult.

“We have a database that lists every lot and block in East McKeesport,” Rosenbayger said. “Everything that's vacant is noted on there, any information we have on it.”

An intern from the Local Government Academy updated the database last summer.

Councilors discussed blighted properties related to delinquencies, and what to do when a structure has been demolished by the borough.

Ferrianolo said he would contact county officials for more information about reassessing lands that no longer have a building.

Solicitor Dan Beisler said the borough is addressing blighted properties through its participation with Twin Rivers, Turtle Creek Valley and Steel Valley councils of governments.

The councils of governments were assessing how the state's Land Bank Act would empower them to buy abandoned properties in the towns they represent.

“I think there are some weapons available under that statute that will help us,” Beisler said.

Councilors postponed forming a committee, and said they may have a workshop about delinquent properties when the holidays have concluded.

“We're not going to get rid of it in a day,” Councilwoman Donna Ferrainolo said. “It's a process.”

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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