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29Jan

Blair Funds to Tackle Blight

Altoona Mirror

In Sep­tember 2017, the costs of recording a mortgage and deed went up by $7.50 in Blair County to fund what commissioners said would be a revenue source to address blighted properties. Now that the fund has accumulated about $66,000, commissioners are reviewing proposed guidelines that if adopted, will permit up to $10,000 per property to flow to local governments and redevelopment agencies intent on addressing blight.

It’s a new program that has accumulated enough money to get started, county Director of Social Services James Hudack said.

In May 2017, commissioners agreed to create the fund, an option under the state’s Demo­lition Act 152. While the state allowed counties to levy a fee of up to $15 per recorded mortgage or deed, Blair County commissioners enacted a fee of $7.50 to get started.

While meeting Tuesday, Com­mis­sioner Terry Tomassetti referenced the proposed $10,000 maximum.

“When I look at dilapidated homes, I’m not sure how far $10,000 will go,”Tomassetti said.

“Ten thousand may or may not be enough,” Hudack responded.

A typical single family home, Hudack said, can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 to demolish. But the guidelines, he added, also encourage local governments and redevelopment authorities to pledge money toward demolition.

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