Luzerne County considering fee on deeds and mortgages to target blight

By: Jennifer Learn-Andes, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

Published: October 4th, 2017

A proposed new fee of up to $15 on deeds and mortgages recorded in Luzerne County is under consideration to help fund the demolition of eyesore properties.

County Councilman Harry Haas, who chairs the county’s Blighted Property Review Committee, said he will present a proposed fee ordinance for discussion at Tuesday’s council work session.

The state passed a law in November allowing counties to impose the fee to create a fund to raze blighted structures within their borders.

It’s similar to a state-authorized Housing Trust Fund the county implemented in 2003 to provide matching funds to income-eligible, first-time home buyers and other affordable housing initiatives. That fund comes from a $13 fee on mortgages and deeds.

The county processed 10,583 deeds and 8,679 mortgages in 2016, according to Mary Dysleski, who oversees county deeds and wills.

Based on that volume, a new $15 fee would generate $288,930.

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