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13Jun

Editorial: Lackawanna County Land Bank starts to fill holes

Scranton Times Tribune

Published: June 8, 2017

The Lackawanna County Land Bank’s first official transaction is a great example of what the institution can accomplish for property owners, their neighborhoods and the tax base

Established in December 2015, the land bank is empowered by state law and local government ordinances to eliminate much of the expense and administrative hassle that inhibits many people from buying abandoned properties.

When Greg and Joan Popil sought to buy a neighboring lot at 211 N. Cameron Ave., they found that they would have to cover back taxes and demolition liens, at a cost of $25,000. Instead, they just tended to the property so that it would not detract from their own.

The land bank cleared those taxes and liens and sold the property to the Popils, with a clear title, for $100. That gives the Popils control of the parcel and puts it back on the tax rolls for the first time since 1993. The couple will pay more taxes but the property will enhance the value of their original property rather than posing the risk of diminishing it and other property values in the neighborhood.

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