COATESVILLE -- Some of the city properties sold at auction last month may not be the bargains buyers thought they were getting.
While those who participated in the May 30 auction of 16 city- and Coatesville Redevelopment Authority-owned parcels had been warned by city officials that some of the properties did not have clean titles, the city also said they were working toward settling any outstanding tax liens against them.
After the June 24 meeting of the Coatesville Area School District's board, forgiveness of the debt on five properties looked unlikely.
School board members voted against granting a request from the city and RDA to waive the balance of the tax bills not covered by the sale price of each plot. The total of the waiver would have been $21,000.
The measure passed unanimously without comment by any of the board members as part of a list of other items included on the meeting's consent agenda.
"We are not happy with the decision," Coatesville spokeswoman Kristin Geiger said on behalf of the city Wednesday, "but we are trying to schedule a meeting so we can all come to the table and find some possible solutions."
The properties affected are 122, 123, and 124 New Street, and 337 and 339 Mt. Pleasant Street.
The buyers of all the properties auctioned had been required to pay 10 percent of the final price at the conclusion of the public sale. They then had 30 days to line up financing for the balance.
Geiger said because of that time frame she did not know whether those affected by the school board's decision had gone to closing.
The city and the RDA made their request for the tax waiver with the school district a week after the auction took place. Officials had been planning the auction at least as far back as late October.
City Council voted to waive the city taxes owed on the parcels four days before the public sale.
The city also promised if the title of a parcel was not clear within 30 days of the sale, the buyers could back out of the sale.
Geiger defended how the city handled the auction.
"Prior to the auction, any issues ... that we knew of were disclosed," she said. "We were as open as possible with those properties."
Geiger also promised the city would work with the buyers to remove the taxes, and she said the city hoped to schedule a meeting the CASD school board "in an effort to remedy the situation."
If all the sales are finalized, the auction will have raised more than $200,000 for the city.
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