Home up for county tax sale after sinkhole destroys neighborhood

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Property owners face more problems three years after their homes were condemned by a massive sinkhole. A second home up for auction at the Dauphin County Tax Sale on Monday, as many push Harrisburg School District to step in.

The home on the 1400 block of S. 14th Street in Harrisburg sold for $500 to the Dauphin County Land Bank.

Meanwhile, members of the Harrisburg School District say they’re working to provide relief soon for homeowners in a similar situation, many of whom owe taxes on homes they can’t or shouldn’t be living in.

“The street has been closed since, I don’t know, maybe the end of 2014,” says Rhonda Scott.

She describes her block on Harrisburg’s S. 14th Street as “eerily quiet.” Three years ago it was eaten by a sinkhole, caused by Hurricane Sandy. Since then, most people left.

“People that are left here like myself, we’re just living here,” says Scott, who has lived there for 30 years. “We’re not having life here. We’re just living here.”

The county began putting some of those homes up for sale for owing property taxes to the Harrisburg School District. The sale Monday, June 12, was a particular situation in which the property owners owed taxes before the sinkhole.

“I think it’s totally unfair,” says Matthew Krupp, a school board member.

Dauphin County and the City of Harrisburg voted earlier this year to forgive taxpayers for payments since 2014. Harrisburg School District is the only one holding out.

“We’re working on it,” says Krupp, who has brought this issue up to the board multiple times. “I would encourage the residents to continue coming to the school board committee meetings and put pressure on the school board.”

At Monday’s meeting, Krupp opened up the can of worms once again. He faced opposition who, months later, says they still need more information.

Sam Cooper, the school board solicitor, says, “About the actions that were taken, the history of this, and what owners were granted previous relief.”

Rhonda asks, “How much tax dollars are they losing? Not much.”

We asked the same question, and no one could give us an answer.

But we were given some hope for Rhonda and her neighbors. The school board plans to add a vote on tax relief at its next meeting Monday, June 19.

If the school board does not offer tax forgiveness and homeowners don’t pay up, they might not be eligible for federal money promised after the hurricane. That’s money that could help them move, while their properties could face a bulldozer in the near future.

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