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Just over 600 properties are included in tax sale list in county

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton A dozen parcels that comprise many of the condos on the riverfront are part of the preliminary upset tax sale list.

Just over 600 properties have made an initial sale list for non-payment of 2018 taxes.

The upset sale day is Sept. 28 and the deadline to pay to avoid the sale is Friday, Sept. 25.

Each of the properties was listed with a price.

Tax Claim Director Phil Gilbert said that price is based on all back taxes and an estimate for 2020 taxes.

“The true upset price, on Sept. 28, will be all delinquent taxes, 2020 taxes, recording fees — for register and recorder, transfer tax, upi fee, etc — municipal liens, and any liens with the Dept. of Revenue — for businesses,” Gilbert explained.

An island on the Conewango Creek, one open and one closed gas station and a bar on the east side made the initial list.

In addition, many of the most notable properties were part of the Impact Warren project — the condos along the Allegheny River and the apartments and office space that front Pennsylvania Avenue between Liberty Street and Hickory Street.

A total of 12 parcels under the ownership of The Landing at Warren LP with Breeze Point Circle addresses made the list as well as the Liberty West Apartments at 309 Pennsylvania Ave. W.

331-333 Pennsylvania Ave. W. and 337-343 Pennsylvania Ave. W. also are included.

All of those properties are owned by entities with addresses out of Turbotville, Pa.

The back taxes and 2020 tax estimate on the Liberty West Apartments totals $188,868.63, according to the tax sale notice.

“They always pay at the last minute,” Gilbert said.

Many of the properties listed won’t make it to the sale.

Data from Gilbert indicates that less than one hundred properties are likely to make it to sale day. Just 25 made it in 2015 while 89 went to sale in 2016. The other years in that window fall in between.

Properties sold at upset sale come with any mortgages and liens so the sale rate is generally less than 30 percent.

The 602 properties listed in the notice mark the lowest number since at least 2012, when over 1,200 properties were listed.

“Since I’ve taken over as director, the numbers in the AD have been decreasing. This year was exceptional,” Gilbert said.

What has impacted that? Gilbert highlighted additional conversations with payers on the ability to make payments, online payment availability and improvements to the mailing process.

“I added a payoff amount on our tax sale notices which was never done in the past,” he said.

“This year was exceptional,” he said. “I’m not sure if doing (the outlined items) consistently the past four years has helped gradually decrease the list or (if) it was the stimulus/unemployment that helped drive those numbers down.”

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