Reading Officials Form Plan To Find Foreclosed-Property Owners

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A two-alarm fire in September 2011 gutted a vacant row home at 1422 Muhlenberg St., damaged two neighboring properties, and started the city on yet another frustrating journey to find an owner and order that a building be properly boarded up.

The Muhlenberg Street problem was just one skirmish in the city’s ongoing battle to find elusive property owners for such things as fire cleanup, unpaid taxes, quality-of-life tickets or blight.

But the battle may soon be over.

The city has a plan to get banks to register their foreclosures and may hire an outside firm to help monitor and enforce the rules.

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Reading Mayor Gets Earful At Forum

Pastor Jack Williams of First Century Worship Center told Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer Thursday that he and other volunteers cleaned street litter and piled trash bags behind his 11th Street church one day this summer.

The church wound up with a $25 code fine for its efforts.

What did the pastor and the mayor learn from this?

Maybe that no good deed goes unpunished.

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City Of Reading Amnesty Nets $351,000 In Fees And Fines So Far

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With less than two weeks left to go, the city’s amnesty program for overdue rental housing fees and quality-of-life fines has reached $351,000, or about 70 percent of its goal, codes manager Ron Natale said Monday.

The offer that began in mid-December ends Feb. 15, and property owners who don’t contact the city by then will be turned over to its new collection firm, Harrisburg-based National Recovery Agency, Natale told City Council.

The city has about $2.8 million in delinquent quality-of-life fines and rental housing fees from 22,000 unpaid bills.  Officials had hoped to collect about $500,000 of that with the amnesty program, which waives penalties and late fees if the property owners pay the original amounts.

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Reading Codes Officer’s Residency Was At Issue

Reading codes manager Ron Natale is violating the city charter because he has not moved into the city within the required year of taking office, according to an investigator for the city Charter Board that enforces such rules.

However, despite the investigator’s official findings, which put the case into the board’s hands for a final ruling, a new investigator closed the probe.

And, the Charter Board’s confidentiality rules prevent anyone from explaining why.

Charter Board rulings have led to the firing of prior codes manager Jatinder Khokar and the transfer of Adam Mukerji, former community development director, to the Reading Redevelopment Authority.

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