News

After state law changes, midstate county considers $15 fee to fix blighted properties

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 11, 2017 10:10 AM
abandoned_building.jpg

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate county is looking to take advantage of a new state law allowing it to tack on a fee to clean up blighted properties.

If its approved, Cumberland County would be at least the second county in the midstate to put the fee in place.

The $15 charge would be added to any mortgage or deed change for a property in the county.

If the board of commissioners approves the move, it's expected to raise about $240,000 a year.

The money would then go toward fixing up properties with absentee owners, and houses in disrepair.

Rebecca Yearick with Cumberland County's Redevelopment Authority says she's been waiting to take on a property in downtown Mechanicsburg for years.

"We're taking a problem property that has just been ugh, a nightmare to this community for almost two decades and turned it into something that is welcoming and wanted," says Yearick. 

Yearick calls the new fee a win, noting fixing up abandoned properties will help boost property values. She adds: "It's not uncommon for a problem property to be owned by someone who has some challenges or simply doesn't care about the property. This will give us a tool to be able to tackle them more quickly and with fewer strings attached."

Dauphin County has added the fee to all mortgage or deed changes, and expects to raise at least $200,000 for work on blighted properties.

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