The Nutter administration is seeking proposals to design and operate an online auction of 1,000 tax liens.

The firm who wins the contract will be designing a pilot program to help the Nutter administration decide how to best manage tax lien sales.

"This is a pilot and we're testing various concepts," McDonald said. "We understand there may be significant levels of investor interest."

Over the years, City Council has urged the Nutter administration to consider tax lien sales as a way of collecting the millions of dollars in delinquent taxes. With eight months left in his administration, Nutter is giving the tax lien sale idea a try.

The online pilot program will be selling 1,000 pre-selected tax liens, the administration announced Thursday. Some of the liens will be sold in bundles, others will be sold by themselves.

The properties chosen for the sale had to fit certain criteria, including having a balance of more than $1,000, they could not related to a non-profit and the property owner could not have an active appeal to the Tax Review Board.

The city expects that there will be "a number of participants," Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said. He did not know how much money the city expects to generate from the pilot program.

Those interested in the contract to design the online auction (proposals must be no more than $32,000), may visit the Department of Revenue's website: Proposals are due May 5.

"This pilot program is further evidence of our Administration's commitment to collect all monies owed to the City. This effort sends a clear message to the tax scofflaws out there that Philadelphia will be relentless in its collection efforts," Nutter said in a statement. "This tax lien sale approach, if successful, will allow the City to quickly generate funds."

Once the auction is held in mid-June, the purchased tax lien will be transferred to the third-party buyer with the highest bid.

"The transfer does not make the third-party purchaser, or "lien holder", the owner of the property, but does allow the lien holder to begin foreclosure procedures should the lien, and any additional charges related to it, not be paid or resolved," according to the city's news release on the sale.

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