Harrisburg – Dec. 1, 2015 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said that he is pleased that his bill allowing counties the option of establishing a new demolition and rehabilitation fund was unanimously approved by the Senate last week.

“Creating the mechanism to help counties address housing issues is one important step that we can take toward demolishing blighted properties and speeding the rehabilitation of housing stock,” Brewster said. “Refurbishing housing is key to the resurgence of an economically hard-hit municipality.”

Brewster’s plan (Senate Bill 482) would give counties the option of establishing a Demolition and Rehabilitation Fund. The new fund would be capitalized through a fee assessed for each property sold for delinquent taxes. The fee can be no more than 10 percent of the purchase price of the delinquent property.

“Homeownership is an important piece of a fiscally-strong municipality,” Brewster said. “The fund would help eliminate blight and build stability in communities throughout the region.”

Brewster said that counties had the option of creating the fund and assessing the fee. The money in the fund may only be used for the demolition or rehabilitation of blighted properties in the county.

The proposal was introduced and reported to the full Senate by the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee last session. However, it was never considered by the full Senate.

The bill now goes to the state House of Representatives for its consideration.


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