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East McKeesport OKs collecting rent from tenants of landlords with delinquent taxes

| Friday, April 11, 2014, 1:31 a.m.

East McKeesport council adopted an ordinance at Thursday's meeting allowing the borough to collect rent from tenants of landlords with delinquent taxes, and establishing a civil penalty for those renters who refuse to comply.

Borough Solicitor Dan Beisler said there is a state statute that permits the borough to collect such funds and put those payments toward the delinquent real estate tax owed by the property owner.

“This ordinance will allow us to take the tenant to the magistrate, and (that person) would be subject to a civil fine if he (or she) doesn't comply with forwarding the rent to us,” Beisler said. “It doesn't penalize the tenant in any way. He (or she) has complied with (the) lease, but by state statute we intervened in the payment of that rent so that our taxes get paid. It's our hope that we would not have to use this ordinance very much because I believe most tenants would comply with the request.”

“It's a good thing for the borough,” said Mayor Robert Howard.

“We're not the first borough to have this,” said vice president Peter McGinty. “The landlord's not going to be seeing much rent. So in turn he's going to try and correct the situation. It's all part of Act 90. It's just another tool for us to try and get the funds that we need to maintain the borough.”

All motions made at the meeting passed by 5-0 vote. Councilman George Padezan and Councilwoman Lynn Brown were absent.

Council approved a $50 donation to the East Allegheny High School musical and $200 to the North Versailles Township Public Library summer reading program.

Councilman John Ekiert and councilwoman Donna Ferrainolo were approved to go to the Local Government Academy's Professional Police Operations program at a cost of $47.50 per person.

Council passed a resolution applying for a $150,000 grant through the state Department of Community & Economic Development's small water and sewer program, and paying the $100 application fee.

Borough engineer Don Glenn said the money will be used for some much needed sewer repairs.

An Easter party is scheduled for April 19 from 2-4 p.m. at the community center. It is open to residents ages 12 and younger. Registration deadline is Tuesday. Call 412-824-2531 for more information.

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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