The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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July 15, 2013

Former Red Cross site leads tax sale list

EBENSBURG — About 200 more properties than 2012 are listed this year in Cambria County’s upcoming delinquent tax sale.

Of the 1,608 parcels, the largest percentage by far are residential. If history repeats itself, about a quarter of the total will end up on the auction block when the sale opens in Courtroom 1 at 10 a.m. Sept. 9.

While Thursday was the last day to pay the taxes and have a property removed from the public listing, property owners are given until the last minute to avoid the sale, said Joanne Ranck, director of the county tax claims bureau.

“They have until the property is on the auction block,” she said. “But Aug. 2 is the last day to pay to avoid sheriff posting,” which carries an additional $50 fee.

The property with the highest amount of taxes due – $178,064 – is Breakthrough Enterprises,

307 Vine St. in downtown Johns-town, a structure that formerly housed the American Red Cross and is now in private ownership.

The total due reflects taxes dating back to 2010.

Coming in second with $52,462 due in delinquent taxes is Berkebile Bros. at 280 D St., reflecting unpaid taxes dating back to 2011.

An apartment building in the 200 block of Boyer Street, Johns-town, in the name of Ana Bush, has a delinquent tax bill of $38,336, while one in the 500 block of Cambria Avenue, Colver, belonging to Daniel and Patricia Hurley, carries a tax debt of $34,622.

The Sunoco station on Scalp Avenue in Richland Township, along with Marshall Pointe, a trailer park in East Carroll Township, show delinquent levies of more than $33,000 each.

A commercial building in the 600 block of Goucher Street in Upper Yoder Township, listed as belonging to George Bauer, has delinquent taxes of just less than $31,000.

Also on the list is property of 130 acres plus, including a number of buildings in Blacklick Township belonging to Michael Comisac with a tax bill of $42,000.

Ranck said the parcels on Route 422 once housed a game reserve.

The delinquent listings are countywide, with just two municipalities – Daisytown Borough and Middle Taylor Township – the only ones without properties on the massive list.  Johnstown’s 15th Ward also reflects no delinquent tax notices.

As late as Thursday, people were in the tax claims office with money to get their property off the list. But the response was less than what it has been in past years.

“I was expecting people to be lined up at the counter,” Ranck said, indicating the front of her office where tax dollars are accepted.

“There have been a few, but there’s no one out there now.”

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