Fisher Building 18 - Delinquent Tax Sale

People walk past the Fisher Building on Monday on Main Street in Johnstown. The building is among the properties listed for sale by the county for delinquent taxes.

A four-story Johnstown building that houses state offices is among more than 1,100 tax-delinquent properties headed for the auction block in Cambria County.

Alcamar Co. of Salix, owner of the Fisher Building at 607 Main St., owes $93,195. State Department of Labor and Industry offices, including the Bureau of Workers Compensation and the state Workers Insurance Fund, are located in the facility.

However, the building’s owner – along with all other delinquents – still can keep its property out of the sale by paying outstanding taxes or entering into a payment plan, said Sam Runzo, who heads Cambria County Tax Claim Bureau.

The properties – about 200 fewer than last year’s list – are displayed in a legal advertisement appearing today in The Tribune-Democrat.

Although fewer properties are listed this year, not much can be read into that, Runzo said. The total often fluctuates from a low of 800 to as many as 1,400.

And, if past tax sales are any indication, the number of properties actually going up for auction Sept. 11 will dwindle to 200 to 300, Runzo said. Many owners wait until the sale date is closer to settle their debts or sign up for a payment plan, he said.

The list includes commercial buildings as well as houses, vacant lots, paved lots and trailers.

Runzo warned that buyers who think they may get a cheap property at the sale should check into whether there are any judgments, liens or mortgages owed on a parcel. Those are not eliminated for a tax sale.

Because of that, few properties actually are sold at the auction, he said.

Alcamar, which does not have a listed telephone number, could not be reached for comment.

Although the sale is triggered by unpaid taxes in 2004, the amount owed by Alcamar includes some taxes from 2003, Runzo said.

County records show that Alcamar entered into a payment plan last year for 2003 taxes, but paid only one installment.

In addition to the Fisher Building, Alcamar owes $11,144 on a Clinton Street property and $2,473 on a parcel at Locust and Feeder Streets.

Also unavailable for comment Monday were Dusan and Kathleen Bratic, identified as owners of Towne Manor Motel, 155 Johns St.

The Bratics have not paid $71,127 on the motel property and $8,985 on an adjoining parcel, according to the sale ad.

David Edmiston, one of the owners of SWR Inc. in Cambria County Industrial Park in Ebensburg, said his company will sign up for a payment program for the $73,812 due on that 5.8-acre site.

“This will give us a chance to catch up (financially),” he said.

SWR, which employees about 30, makes antennas sold around the world, Edmiston said.

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