Harrisburg school district resists calls to forgive tax bills for residents hit by sinkholes

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 9, 2017 12:47 PM

Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Thr 1400 block of South 14th Street is closed to cars because of the sinkholes that have opened up.

(Harrisburg) -- Some Harrisburg residents who can't live in their homes because of sinkholes that opened up in 2014 are fighting for some tax relief.

But the city's school district is resistant to their efforts.

The tax bills for about 50 homes on one block of Harrisburg's South 14th street are in question.

The city and county have already forgiven the debts going back to the 2014 sinkholes, but the school district is holding out.

Now, one of the properties is set to be part of a tax sale Monday. The district says its debts pre-date the sinkholes.


Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Bricks cracked on a house on South 14th Street in Harrisburg.

Maria Vargas-Graves, who lives in the neighborhood, says regardless, there are homeowners who are nervous and frustrated.

"I think South 14th street should be taken away from the sales tax period because I don't think anybody on South 14th street should lose their home behind taxes from 2014 up to current," says Vargas-Graves.

Vargas-Graves says residents have pleaded with Harrisburg School District for help.

"I feel like we're just stuck in limbo and nothing is going to be accomplished because we can't make them do anything," she adds.

The district's Acting Chief Financial Officer William Gretton says its received advice from its solicitor that it can't forgive delinquent taxes.

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