Nutter pledges to do better on tax collection, housing abandonment

An investigative series by Plan Philly finds Philadelphia is still among the worst cities in the country at collecting real-estate taxes and taking delinquent properties to sheriff sale.

Despite several initiatives by Mayor Michael Nutter to increase delinquent tax collection, the series finds the city still does a terrible job of getting property owners to pay up the delinquent taxes or forfeit their buildings.

That results in thousands of blighted properties that depress the values of surrounding property and degrade the quality of life in many neighborhoods.

In a hallway exchange with reporters, Nutter said the series points out some longstanding problems.

Asked about the finding that under his administration the city had its three lowest tax collection years since the early ’80s, Nutter said, “They were also about the three worst years in recent economic history as well. You know, people are making decisions, do I pay my mortgage or pay my city taxes, or am I just going to abandon my home?”

Nutter said the city is working to turn things around.

“We have made a focused commitment to invest more in the systems and people to rectify this particular issue,” Nutter said. “It is absolutely a problem. I am very very focused on it. and we will fix it.”

Plan Philly is a content partner of NewsWorks.

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