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Judicial Sale Funds Awarded To Scranton School District

The Scranton School District received a check for $127,620.39 from the recent Lackawanna County judicial sale. Tax delinquent properties were sold by the Tax Claim Bureau, returned to the tax rolls, and revenue distributions were made to area school districts and municipalities. The Scranton School District will use the funds for general operations along with funding various educational, civic and cultural enrichment programs for its students.

L-r, Commissioner Jim Wansacz, William King, Scranton’s Superintendent of Schools; Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien and Patrick M. O’Malley.

Lackawanna County Offers On-Line Tax Certification Processing

Lackawanna County continues to make it easier for people and companies to business with its various departments.

The tax Claim Bureau is now accepting on-line tax certification requests.  This new service compliments the Bureau’s Delinquent Tax Payment credit card program, which has been in effect for two years.

“This is a great addition to our other on-line services,” said Commissioner Jim Wansacz.  “We want to make it easy to do business with Lackawanna County in a very cost efficient and swift manner.”

“The On-Line Tax Certification Program is a win-win situation for everyone,” explained Commissioner Corey D. O’Brien.  “It helps attorneys, title searchers and bankers get information rather quickly and at a reasonable rate.  It also frees-up the Tax Claim staff to handle other fiscal issues and claims payment processing. “

“This is a very valuable service that we are offering to the business community and residents,” noted Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.  “I want to applaud Ron Koldjeski for adding this service.  We continue to be more user-friendly in our services and have learned how to do more with less which benefits Lackawanna County’s residents.”

Title searchers, attorneys, bankers and real estate agents can access this new service by using a credit card or credit card account.

The system is very user-friendly.  It is set-up for the small office user as well as large businesses.  It enables the user to receive Tax Certifications immediately, cutting the wait time to seconds instead of days.  The old system used U.S. Mail or a fax service to return Tax Certifications.   Now, they will be sent as soon as the credit card is processed for payment.  The Tax Claim Bureau generally processes between 7,000 to 9,000 tax certification requests annually.

There is a $10 per certificate charge.  The on-line service also carries a user fee, which is $2.95.

To use the Tax Certification Program, go to the County’s website www.lackawannacounty.org.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the page.  In the “Our Administration” column, click on “Tax Claim.”  Scroll down to the middle of the page to the “On-Line Payment” section to do your transaction.

Judicial Sale Again Generates Valuable Revenue For The County & Surrounding Municipalities

The totals from the February 2013 judicial sale have been finalized and the effects will be felt in a very positive way with the injection of over $365,000 into the operations of local boroughs, cities, townships and authorities, while also returning properties to the tax rolls for future revenue generation.

Lackawanna County Commissioners Corey D. O’Brien, Jim Wansacz and Patrick M. O’Malley have reported that $367,351.28 will be distributed to area communities in addition to 121 properties being put back on the tax rolls, creating annual cash flow.

“This was a win-win for everyone,” explained Commissioner Corey O’Brien. “The judicial sale not only generated much needed revenue for the county, municipalities and authorities, but it also put properties back on our tax rolls so that additional funds can be derived in the future.”

“The 2013 judicial sale has provided a revenue stream to the local boroughs, townships and municipalities,” said Commissioner Jim Wansacz. “With federal and state cuts to local governments, every penny that we can collect and redistribute helps the local communities.”

“This is good government at work,” noted Commissioner Patrick O’Malley. “The bottom line is we are doing everything that we can to not place any additional burden on county residents.”

A breakdown of the distribution to the townships, municipalities, boroughs, school districts, authorities and special trusts are as follows:

Abington Heights School District $426.88; Benton Township $386.61; Benton Township fire company $113.72; Blakely Borough $1,323.43; Carbondale Area School District $10,675.08; and City of Scranton $15,114.56.

Also, Clarks Summit Borough $5,159.46; Dunmore Borough $1,837.63; Dunmore School District $4,670.66; Fell Township for garbage, electric and operations $1,766.06; Old Forge School District $1,568.95; and Scranton School District $127,620.39.

Also, Valley View School District $7,601.40; Jessup Borough for garbage and general funds $1,655.28; Lackawanna River Basin Authority $5,769.62; Lackawanna Trail School District $8,206.77; Lakeland School District $4,510.60; and Mid Valley School District $460.11.

Also, Portnoff Law (Collections for Mid Valley, North Pocono and Abington Heights School Districts) $45,234.30; Riverside School District $16,389.45; Scranton Sewer Authority $20,369.03; South Abington Township for operations and fire department $582.06; Newton Township $487.40; and Throop Borough $2,063.15.

The overall total of these disbursements is $367,351.28.

Ron Koldjeski, director of the county’s tax claim bureau, provided a breakdown of the distributions that were made to the county and its offices through the sale, which also generated more revenue for the municipalities, school districts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Recorder of Deeds (recording fees) – $8,700.00

Recorder of Deeds (Transfer Tax)  – $146,867.30

(The State, school districts and various boroughs get a distribution from the transfer tax amount, not the county.)

Lackawanna County Commissions – $68,539.33

Lackawanna County Sale Fees – $214,176.09

Lackawanna County General Fund – $78,571.55

Lackawanna County Library Fund – $5,576.91

The costs involved in doing the sale were as follows:

Total to County in commissions, fees and taxes – $367,351.28

Total costs, legal fees, title searches, sheriff services, etc. – $351,479.14

Total positive cash flow to county – $15,872.14

With regard to the Hotel Tax Collections and Delinquent Tax Collections for 2013 the Commissioners also noted the Tax Claim Bureau has collected $ 457,384 more in 2013 in delinquent taxes than for the same period in 2012.

The Commissioners also noted that the Hotel Tax collection is up for 2013 over 2012 by 91%, partially due to the State granting the County a percentage increase of Hotel Room Rental Tax from 4% to 7%. The County is on schedule to collect $ 2.5 million in Hotel Tax in 2013 compared to $ 1.4 million in 2012.

The Commissioners explained that a lot of hard work goes into the collection process of all delinquent and legislated taxes. But since a more aggressive approach has been undertaken by the County Administration, a net collection increase is now more evident than ever before. This increase in collections results in the County being able to help itself and other municipalities, school districts and authorities with much needed cash flow during a time when they are experiencing deep State and Federal cuts.

Finally, the Commissioners noted that the 2013 Repository Property List has been posted on line on the Tax Claim site. The Repository properties are those that went through the Judicial Sale process and were not sold. The Commissioners direct anyone interested in purchasing a Repository property to go to www.lackawannacounty.org, Tax Claim and scroll to Repository List 2009-2013.