Clarion leaders move ahead on projects, hear about tax sale law

Clarion County commissioners took steps Tuesday to fix a flood-damaged bridge, remodel three county buildings and improve a county road.

The commissioners approved a grant submission to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for a project along Grand Avenue. Tracy Frampton of the EADS Group said this would complete the corridor that borders the Glassworks property.

The Glassworks project is being developed by the Miles Brothers on the former Owens-Illinois property.

The commissioners signed a letter of support on behalf of New Bethlehem Borough for repairs to the Leisure Run Bridge. New Bethlehem Borough Council vice president Sandy Mateer said the bridge needs “extensive repairs” and is the only access to the Smuckers facility in the borough.

Mateer said the cost of the project would be about $270,000 to $300,000.

The commissioners signed three agreements with architect Amos Rudolph.

The first was for the architectural and engineering work for a learning center at the former Sorce Building at a cost of $15,000. Commissioner Ted Tharan said the room would be used for group functions and also for a possible vaccine site.

The second agreement was also for architectural and engineering services at the back entry to the Clarion County Courthouse at a cost of $11,300. Tharan said the entry is exposed to the elements and has been the scene of several falls.

The final project Amos will provide services for is a proposal for the county probation building, formerly the Goodwill store. That building was damaged in a fire.

Tax sale changes

In other business Tuesday, Megan Kerr, the county’s Tax Claim Bureau director, told the commissioners a recent change in state law has altered the way the county will conduct tax sales and judicial sales.

Kerr said the new law will go into effect prior to the scheduled Sept. 20 tax sale.

She said bidders must register at the Tax Bureau office not less than 10 days before the scheduled sale. The Tax Bureau office is located on the first floor of the courthouse.

The county may set a fee for filing an application to register for the sale, but the commissioners said the county has no intention of establishing a fee at this time.

The application must include basic information such as name and address and the names of all members of an LLC.

A new requirement is that a list of all applicants and bidders must be sent to all the municipalities at least five days prior to the sale.

Kerr said the owner would have no right to purchase the owner’s property at a judicial sale.

The county may, with the written consent of all of the taxing districts where the property is located, establish a minimum purchase price and accept an offer of any price equal to or greater than the minimum price.

Kerr said she is changing the location of the actual sale and it will probably be held in the entry foyer right outside her office.

She said the number of parcels offered at the sale begins with almost 200, but people can pay the back taxes up to the time the sale begins.

“We usually have about 30 parcels at the tax sale,” she said.

Kerr said judicial sales are bi-annual and usually have 40 to 50 parcels.