After difficulties with staffing, city turns to third party to manage vacant property registration program


Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: Short staffing and other challenges to tracking vacant the property registration program information have pushed the city to outsource ordinance management to a third party.


Some 400 abandoned homes have been estimated in the city, though no list of supposed vacant properties to support the estimate currently exists with the city. Despite that estimate, the number of registered vacant properties is not remotely commensurate, with few registrations since the program’s approval in 2010.


The ordinance requires owners to register and provide current contact information for all properties unoccupied for more than 45 days and pay a $200 annual registration fee. Failure to pay the registration fee will result in a $500 fine each year.


The company chosen to handle the program will be released, along with other details, when a final decision has been made; likely within the coming months, as the city is still reviewing all proposals.


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