City picking up the pace on property tax collection

For the first time since Mayor Nutter took office, the City of Philadelphia made significant, measurable progress over the past 18 months in its long running fight against the property tax delinquency epidemic.

The total debt owed the city and School District of Philadelphia in unpaid property taxes fell over the past year, edging down $10 million between April 2013 and April 2014, according to a Philadelphia magazine and PlanPhilly analysis of city tax data. The total number of property tax deadbeats declined as well, dipping about 1,400 over the same period.

To be sure, the gains are modest given the massive scale of property tax delinquency in Philadelphia; nearly 96,000 delinquent parcels and $512 million owed, figures that dwarf those in all other big cities except Detroit.

But it’s notable nonetheless that the city managed to stop—for a time at least—the spread of tax delinquency (the epidemic has grown quickly in most years of the Nutter administration), and more notable still that the city is now reducing the total amount owed.

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