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Connellsville sells two small parcels of land

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By Rachel Basinger
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 7:03 p.m.

Connellsville City Council wants out of the real estate business and intends to put small parcels of city-owned property back on the tax rolls.

Council this week approved the sale of two parcels of land that it put out for bid.

The first parcel, between Gibson and East Murphy avenues, is about 10 by 40 feet. One bid was received. Doug Gemas bid $100 for the parcel adjacent to his property. He plans to make it an extension of his yard.

The second parcel, on Bottom Street, received just one bid as well. Tony Coleman offered $1,004. He plans to build on the property.

Mayor Charles Matthews said the city's ultimate goal is to start making money on the property through taxes.

Councilman Tom Karpiak commended Matthews and council for moving the process along.

“This took a long time to do,” he said. “There were many hours of meetings, looking at maps, going through parcel ID numbers. It's a win-win-win all the way around.

“The individual gets a parcel at a good price, and the city will benefit when the properties are enhanced,” Karpiak said.

Judy Keller, city treasurer, told council that as of Tuesday, the city's general fund balance at PNC Bank was $162,871. The general fund PGLIT balance is $227,829.

Keller said the tax office has collected $215,131.15 in real estate taxes and $8,134 in per capita taxes from March 1 to April 5.

Over $11,000 has been collected in business licenses and just over $22,000 has been collected in mechanical devices license fees.

Council also agreed to rename Pavilion Number 1 in Yough River Park the Christine F. Wagner Memorial Pavilion.

A letter from Ted Kovall, president of the Yough River Trail Council, said the trail council plans to erect an engraved wooden plaque on the pavilion and hold a dedication ceremony this year.

Councilman Gregory Ritch said he believes this is a noble gesture.

“I knew Christine (Wagner) since she was a little girl,” he said. “She put her heart and soul into this community.”

Wagner, who passed away recently, served one term on city council and served as the director of the Greater Connellsville Chamber of Commerce for a period of time.

Matthews reminded residents that the National Day of Prayer is scheduled for May 2, the community yard sale is planned for May 4, and spring cleanup day is slated for May 11. The Memorial Day Parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 27, the mayor added, and a Fayette County hard-to-recycle event is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 at the Fayette County Fairgrounds.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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