City Tax Deadbeats Calling In To Pay Up In Person And On The Phone, Thousands Respond To The Ultimatum: Resolve Your Debt. Or Else.

Posted: May 08, 1997

Message received loud and clear.

Apparently, the Rendell administration's efforts to get property-tax deadbeats to pay up quickly are working.

Last week, city officials mailed letters to about 110,000 delinquent property owners telling them to call or come in quickly and make payment arrangements because, by the end of June, the liens on their properties will be sold and private collectors will be the next to knock on their doors.

So, city finance director Ben Hayllar was not surprised Monday to learn that the number of phone calls handled by the Revenue Department swelled from 10,000 a week to 24,000 in one day. Walk-ins jumped from 30 a day to 350 on Monday.

The effort is aimed at reeling in more dollars for the financially ailing school district and more economic development dollars for the city.

Taxes on about 100,000 properties - a fifth of all homes, lots and commercial buildings in the city - are delinquent.

About 90,000 of the liens will be sold to another city-related agency, the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, which will in turn issue bonds against the expected collections. The taxes will be collected by private firms hired by PAID.

Delinquent taxpayers who do not contact the city Revenue Department by June 2 may face attorney fees of 18 percent, in addition to the back taxes and interest.

FOR MORE INFORMATION * Property owners with questions on back taxes can call the city Revenue Department at 686-6442.

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