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Friday marks deadline to pay to avoid upset tax sale

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Friday marks the deadline to pay delinquent property taxes and avoid next week’s upset tax sale. This property, 219 Liberty St., is on the list for the sale as well as the focus of a state blight remediation grant application.

Upset tax sale for delinquent property taxes in Warren County is set for next Monday.

As a result, Friday by 4 p.m. is the last day to pay to avoid the sale, which will include properties with unpaid 2018 taxes.

The sale will be held at the Warren County Courthouse at 1 p.m. on Sept. 28.

Hundreds of properties made the initial list that came out earlier this summer.

“Typically, we have 60-70 go to sale every year but always strive to get that number as low as possible,” Tax Claim Director Phil Gilbert said.

According to a sale list most recently updated Tuesday on the county’s website, that number is down to 172.

Gilbert said that the list of properties will be periodically updated between now and the time of the sale.

Those looking to pay can pay online at the county website — warrencopa.com/tax-claim or in person with debit or credit cards. No personal checks are accepted but the Tax Claim office can accept cashier checks and cash in person, as well.

“If anyone wishes to attend the auction and bid on properties, I advise that they go to the county website and read up on how upset sales work,” Gilbert explained. “We have a file online called ‘background and procedures.’ Anyone who purchases properties in the upset sale would be responsible for any liens and/or

judgements against the property.”

Paying taxes this late in the game comes with additional costs.

“If they don’t pay their tax collector the initial bill, it then comes to me as delinquent,” Gilbert said. “At that point I’ll apply a $45 fee, then a mailing fee, newspaper fee, additional notices, posting, another mailing, you’re looking at close to an additional $200 just in fees, and that’s not counting the penalty and interest.”

If a property doesn’t sell at next week’s sale, Gilbert said the current owner would have a change to pay but “would then, at that point, have to pay all delinquent taxes on file. No partial payments can be accepted after the upset sale has taken place.

One property on the list is the focal point of a grant application for blight remediation.

That’s 219 Liberty St., the site of the former Brick House.

Tax Claim data shows a total tax bill for 2018-2020 of $17,235.88. The property is owned by Summer16, LLC out of Chester, Pa.

Back in July, City Councilman John Wortman made the pitch to the city’s Redevelopment Authority to apply for funds to rehabilitate the structure.

“I would like to personally see us try and renovate the Brick House and that area of the downtown,” Wortman told the RDA. “I don’t want to see that building demolished.”

He told the RDA that the council and city staff are “working very hard to try to revamp downtown” and said that “demolishing that building on that block would really set back” that effort.

The county has a competing application for funds — up to $300,000 — through this state Department of Community and Economic Development program.

“There is no other source of funding we can locate to rehabilitate the Brick House,” City Manager Nancy Freenock told the RDA.

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