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RDA talks funding challenges

Ongoing funding constraints continue to plague the Warren County Redevelopment Authority.

The RDA successfully demolished four blighted properties last year — two in Clarendon and one each in Tidioute and Sheffield.

While the RDA had funds to demolish, there now appears to not be funds sufficient to file liens on those properties in an attempt to recoup the demolition costs.

The RDA had previously decided to attempt to file liens on its own with consultation with the county’s solicitor, who directed the RDA to work with its own solicitor.

“We don’t have funds for that stuff,” Authority chair Charles Barone said.

“We still have to have a solicitor, though,” Pam Matve, authority member and county chief clerk, said.

Barone criticized the county commissioners for not implementing a deed fee that would have provided a funding stream for the RDA while Matve noted the RDA could place liens on the properties as a fundraising mechanism.

“I’m not in favor of giving away taxpayer money all the time,” Barone said of not filing liens, though Matve noted the RDA has never collected on a filed lien.

“It doesn’t sound like filing liens is worth our time or money,” Authority member Phil Gilbert said, though the Authority did express a willingness to file a lien against the Sheffield property at 4582 Rt. 6.

“I think we should try to recoup this money,” Barone said.

Gilbert cautioned, though, that if the RDA were to acquire the property, the RDA would be responsible for paying back taxes.

On the Tidioute property — 3 Economy St., which is owned by the RDA — the RDA previously set a $5,000 price on the property and will post a for-sale sign at the property.

The 7 Exchange St., Clarendon, property requires resolution of the lien filing issue while 124 N. Main St. is owned by the borough and Rob Hart, authority member and Clarendon Borough councilmember, said “hopefully we can sell it and get something.”

The RDA also discussed the 58 Bush Lane, Limestone Township, property and concluded that while the family is willing to give the property away, Matve said the RDA would have to pay 2018 and 2019 taxes which are owed.

Gilbert said the property is slated for this fall’s upset sale if the 2018 taxes aren’t paid.

The board ultimately decided to table action for a month in the hope of learning the total of the delinquent taxes owed.

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