Dateline Easton, Pennsylvania:
Easton plans to seize numerous properties owned by the Rock Church on Fifth Street in order to collect on $30,000 to $40,000 in back taxes and water bills.
That’s according to the Morning Call, which interviewed city officials who say they are tired of battling the church over its bills and zoning violations at its properties.
Churches get big tax breaks that no other entity automatically qualifies for. Apparently even those greatly reduced financial obligations are too much for the church to pay without claiming it is being unfairly targeted.
In a follow-up story, church attorney Kevin Santos accused the city of “picking a fight” over a church property at 509-511 Northampton St., and said that the cost of fixing the remains of that building has made it impossible to pay taxes and utility bills.
The church — through a subsidiary — owns numerous properties in the neighborhood, including the Hooper House at 501 Northampton St.
That building is believed to be the oldest residence in Easton, but has been vacant since 1979, when the church bought it. In the summer of 2011, the city put it on its list of blighted properties.
[image via Easton Patch]