City Council approved a bill yesterday that would allow the city to hire private agencies to collect on past-due property taxes. If it seems like the city could be doing a better job of collecting, that’s because, well, it could: After all, Camden and Trenton — both of which sell liens to private collection agencies or investors — collect roughly 10 percent more than Philadelphia does.
As with much Council business, this bill may have been a waste of time (guys! I’m kidding!). Nutter already has the power to sell liens to private agencies, according to the Inquirer’s Troy Graham. He writes, “Councilman Bill Green said he sponsored the bill in part to spur the Nutter administration to consider using this tax collection ‘tool'” — a tool that is already in Nutter’s quiver. So it was just a reminder?
Center City property owner and developer Allan Domb was at the City Council meeting yesterday, as he feels very strongly about this issue. But the bill's tactics face stiff opposition:
[Maria Quiñones] Sánchez is the prime sponsor of legislation to create a central land bank, which would be responsible for assembling vacant and tax-delinquent property for redevelopment.
Critics of lien sales argue that turning over numerous tax-delinquent properties to the private sector frustrates civic redevelopment efforts [like those]. The land-bank bill faces a committee hearing next week.
Green countered that "We need certainty of action for property owners to change the culture of nonpayment in this city."
For more, Council OKs plan to sell tax liens
And now, the other headlines of the day...
• Bucks County: Archdiocese to sell 68-acre parcel
• New Jersey: Christie Campaign’s Cash Gives Distinctly ‘Red’ Hue to Map of ‘Blue’ New Jersey
• SugarHouse Casino Unveils Massive Expansion Plans
• Repainting Washington Ave. could mean realigning Washington Ave.