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Blight Act gives Coaldale new clout

Published March 09. 2011 05:00PM

A new state law has given Coaldale Borough new ammunition in its battle against blight.

The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act, signed into law Oct. 25, goes into effect April 25, Mayor Richard Corkery announced at a public meeting Tuesday.

A public meeting for municipal officials to learn more about how to implement the law will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 31 at the Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville. Those wishing to attend are asked to contact state Sen. David G. Argall's Pottsville office by March 28.

Coaldale and other communities have had a tough time getting property owners to either clean up or tear down dilapidated buildings. The law allows municipalities to go after slumlords' personal assets. Now, local governments can get money from property owners who ignore repeated attempts to get them to clean up or tear down, or to place liens on the assets of blighted properties' owners who fail to pay their taxes.

Further, municipalities may now refuse permits and licenses to property owners who are cited for violating the codes in other communities. The errant landlords could also be extradited from other states.

In the past, taxpayers often had to pay for demolition of dilapidated properties, and getting slumlords to bring their buildings up to code was difficult at best.

The legislation was prompted by the late Sen. James J. Rhoades, who died in 2008. Argall championed the law in Rhoades' honor.

In other matters Tuesday, council decided to wait before deciding whether to approve a proposed sale by Schuylkill County Tax Claim Bureau of properties at 274 E. Water St. for $350 and 224 W. Phillips St. for $325 to a Xiomara Villacis.

Council wants to find out a bit more about Villacis. It has 45 days from Feb. 24 to make a decision.

In other matters, Councilman Andrew Girard reminded residents that subscription envelopes for both Lansford Ambulance, which provides Basic Life Support services to the borough, and the Coaldale Volunteer Fire Co., are available at Borough Hall.

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