SHAMOKIN — Owners of two city buildings extensively damaged by fire are delinquent in property taxes, according to the Northumberland County Tax Claim Bureau.
George Holman, owner of the former City Lunchenonette and Billiards, at 38 N. Market St., and Michael Robinson, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor and owns an apartment building at 142 E. Lincoln St., may lose their properties at an upset sale scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 19 at the county administration center.
Within the past week, notices of the tax sale were placed on county properties slated to be offered at the sale due to unpaid property taxes. The orange pieces of paper posted near a front entrance of a property lists various information, including the approximate upset price and description of the lot.
At least one year’s taxes must be delinquent for a period of almost two years in order to be listed for an upset sale. The properties can be sold subject to whatever liens are against the property, with the exception of corporate, municipal, state or federal tax liens that are mandated to be included in the upset price.
According to the tax claim bureau’s website, Holman owes approximately $1,700 in property taxes on 38 N. Market St. for 2017 and 2018. The notice states Holman would be required to pay at least $1,392.40 to remove the property from the sale list. The approximate price for which the property may be sold is $2,159.21.
Holman also owes $2,600 for 37 N. Coal St. and $2,400 for 333 S. Fifth St. for 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The former pool hall on Market Street has a massive hole in its side and has not been brought up to code since a fire on Nov. 14, 2017. City officials have marked it with a red “X” to alert firefighters of dangerous interior conditions.
Shamokin Patrolman and Fire Investigator Raymond Siko II previously stated that the City Lunchenonette fire was electrical in nature and started on a wall on the south side of the building.
According to the bureau’s website, Robinson owes approximately $8,000 in taxes from 2014 through 2018 for 142 E. Lincoln St., which sustained heavy fire damage, along with smoke and water damage, in a fire on July 9. He must pay at least $6,418.63 to keep the property and the approximate price for which the property may be sold is $10,436.10.
The two-alarm fire also spread to the Kallaway Center at 144 E. Lincoln St., owned by the Northumberland County Council for the Arts, which sustained fire damage to its third floor and smoke and water damage throughout the structure, as well as Robinson’s home at 138 E. Lincoln St., which sustained fire damage to the third floor and smoke and water damage to the first and second floors.
Garbage, debris and rats were scene Saturday on Robinson’s properties. Neither property owned by Robinson was registered under the city’s landlord ordinance, according to Shamokin Councilman Scott Roughton, director of public safety.
Siko stated Saturday that investigators are confident that the fire started in a room on the second floor of 142 E. Lincoln St., but held off on listing the nature of the fire due to the ongoing investigation.
A tentative list of properties that might be offered for upset sale will be published in The News-Item on Aug. 17.
Sixty-four of 161 properties offered at a judicial sale on July 25 were sold, bringing in a total of $175,007.41. The properties were sold free and clear of all tax and municipal claims, mortgages, liens, judgments, charges and estates.
A home at 846 N. Front St., Milton, fetched $13,500, the highest bid of the sale. The lowest accepted bid was $1,084.60 for a property at 219 N. Vine St., Shamokin.
Notable properties unsold include overgrown grass lots at 917 and 923 W. Mulberry St., Coal Township, that was the location of a row-home fire on Dec. 23, 2014; and a burned-out building at 721-723 Shamokin St., the former Creative Arts Studio of Photography at 118 E. Independence St. and a dilapidated home at 229 W. Sunbury St., all in Shamokin.
Any property unsold at judicial sale may subsequently be sold any time, should the bureau receive and approve a bid, without further notice to the property owner. The minimum acceptable bid is generally the cost for the judicial sale. The bureau has decided to conduct a repository sale each October.
Of the 161 properties offered July 25, two had been owned by Northeast Apartments LLC and 15 by Apartments and Acquisitions LP, two holding companies of which landlord George Atiyeh had been listed in court documents as a general partner and manager member, respectively.
Atiyeh filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for Apartments and Acquisitions on Sept. 16, 2015 — a day prior to an upset sale — requiring the bureau to remove more than 70 properties from the auction list. Attorney William G. Schwab, of William G. Schwab & Associates, Lehighton, was appointed trustee of the properties on May 10, 2016, after a federal judge converted the case from Chapter 11 to 7 when Atiyeh failed to file required documents.
Atiyeh on July 22, 2015, filed a separate Chapter 11 bankruptcy case for Northeast Apartments. The court approved on Dec. 12, 2015, a motion to dismiss made by Andrew Vara, acting U.S. trustee, against Northeast, because it failed to pay the required trustee quarterly fees, file monthly operating reports and submit a list of all creditors.
COAL TOWNSHIP — Martha Kahan, president of No Nonsense Neutering, gave a spirited presentation regarding the nonprofits’ trap, neuter and return (TNR) services during the public comment portion of Thursday’s Coal Township Commissioners meeting.
No Nonsense Neutering identifies colonies, then provides traps and works with feeders to get cats familiar with the devices before they are used. Cats are taken to a clinic, where they are checked for micro chips and depending on the sex, spade or neutured.
Kahan asked the commissioners if there are any cat-related ordinances currently and they noted there were not. She presented them with the contract and rates of No Nonsense Neutering and encouraged them to make room in their budget for the upcoming year to help curb this problem.
“Cats aren’t going anywhere,” she said. “At some point, actions need to be taken to address this matter.”
Board President Craig Fetterman commended Kahan on her passionate presentation.
“You’ve enlightened us here today and we’ll certainly look into the matter,” said Fetterman.
Kahan was pleased when commissioner George Zalar noted that the the board recognizes there is a problem.
“I commend your project and what you are doing,” said Zalar.
Dylan Kranzel, a Junior at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania who interned with the Coal Township Police Department for the past three months, took time during the public portion of the meeting to thank the board and the police department for the opportunity.
“It was a wonderful experience that made me even more certain that I’d like to pursue a career in law enforcement,” Kranzel said.
“Through the course of my internship, I was able to spend many hours with each officer and observe them during their shifts,” he said. “It was incredibly rewarding to assist them during calls and investigations.”
Kranzel noted that the knowledge those in the department shared with him was “immeasurable”.
“I hope that after graduation, I may be able to have the opportunity to work beside some of the most dedicated and talented professionals, like those that make up the Coal Township Police Department,” Kranzel concluded.
Zalar opened dialogue during the meeting regarding procuring further help for Code Enforcement Officer Chris Petrovich.
“Coal Township is 28 square miles — it’s huge,” said Fetterman. “Chris deals with all the rental properties in Coal Township, he has to inspect over 100 rental properties each year, it’s overwhelming at this point and we’re going to try to help.”
“This board supports Chris 100 percent,” said Fetterman.
The board of commissioners passed a motion approving ATV’s from the AAOA to have limited street access for a ride in September. The streets will include Walnut Street from 1st to Owl, Owl Street from Walnut to Cliff and Cliff/Arch Streets from Owl to Oak.
A motion was passed to purchase a 2020 Ford Explorer police vehicle with all needed equipment at a price of $47,245 from Sunbury Motors and accept the lease-purchase proposal from M&T Bank at a 3.839% with quarterly payments for a term of four years.
The board also passed a motion to purchase a 2020 International HV507 SFA dump truck with all associated items from Bradco Supply Company at a total cost of $150,737.60 and accept the lease-purchase proposal from M&T Bank at 3.847% with annual payments for a term of five years.
COAL TOWNSHIP — Off-road excitement, a sense of community, a passion for Jeeps and of course, mud, were all on display this weekend as the Coal Mountain Jeep Jamboree USA took place at the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA).
“Everything went off without a hitch as always,” said AOAA Director of Operations Dave Porzi.
“Sure, you’ll have one or two breakdowns or perhaps some mechanical failures here and there on the property during these major events, but in general, everyone’s had a great time,” said Porzi.
Among those having a great time were Tim Fantauzzo of Rochester, New York and his friend Mike Freauf of Dallas, Texas.
“I’ve been to 20 events similar to this one and this has been awesome,” said Fantauzzo. “I don’t always go back to these type of events, but I’ll be back to one here for sure.”
Fantauzzo brought his son Jack with him to the Jamboree and noted events such as this one really lend themselves well to quality family time.
Freauf agreed and said he enjoyed the diversity of the trails and that off-roading is a hobby that allows people to forge great friendships and travel the country.
Brian Souham, of Bethesda Maryland, noted that he typically takes part in five or six off-roading events each year and was complimentary regarding his first Jamboree event.
“It’s was a great gathering and allows for meeting new people that share similar interests,” he noted. “I particularly liked being around more experienced off-roaders, it inspired me to tackle more challenging trails.”
The trails are varied and allow for both beginners and more experienced driver to get a chance to see what they and their respective Jeeps are capable of doing.
Porzi said an estimated 300-350 took part in the two-day event (with registration and safety check being done on Thursday). This was on top of the normal rider base of 275 people on the premises Saturday.
“It’s been five years and we’re rockin’ and rollin’,” said Porzi. “We’re very blessed that the AOAA keeps growing.”
Once the event officially concluded, riders from all over the state and country converged at Massers Catering Hall for a concluding meal.
Steve Risk, Jeep Jamboree USA Local Coordinator, presented awards after the riders dined. The parking lot looked more like a Jeep dealership with various sizes and colors of off-road vehicles were on display representing at least 13 different states, ranging from Texas to Minnesota.