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Unclear why Monsessen city properties up for tax sale

August 24, 2018

Monessen officials are listed as owning $599.13 in delinquent taxes for a lot on McKee Way. The bad news is that they owe the same amount for 98 other properties in the city -- all of which are listed as being up for sale by the Westmoreland County Tax Claim Bureau.

It’s unclear why, however.

Properties owned by a city or municipality are typically exempt from local, county and school district taxes. But that process doesn’t happen automatically, said Tim Andrews, Westmoreland County assistant solicitor.

When Monessen acquired the properties, it is likely that a formal request for a tax exemption was not made, Andrews said. Over time, taxes were not paid and the properties became delinquent. If they’re delinquent, they must be listed as part of the tax sale, he said.

It’s unclear why that exemption was never granted, Monessen solicitor Joseph Dalfonso said. He said he doesn’t know if paperwork to grant the exemption was ever filed.

The city has initiated the process for applying for tax exemption and exonerating existing taxes, Dalfonso said.

The 99 properties belonging to the city make up nearly half of the 226 Monessen properties listed by the county as having outstanding taxes.

A tax sale will take place Sept. 10 at the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg.

There are 2,279 parcels with back taxes that could potentially be available for sale across the county.

The county last year also listed more than 2,000 properties that owed school, municipal and county taxes. After property owners either paid their taxes, set up a payment plan with the county or received a court order to remove them from the auction, a total of 80 properties sold at auction for about $700,000.

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