[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Bethlehem as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-20-2011 by Ord. No. 03-11]
No insurance company, association or exchange doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall pay a claim of a named insured for fire damage to a building or structure located within the Township where the amount recoverable for the fire loss to the structure under all policies exceeds $7,500, unless the insurance company, association or exchange is furnished with a certificate pursuant to Subsection B of this section.
The Township Treasurer or its duly appointed representative shall, upon the written request of the named insured specifying the tax description of the property, name and address of the insurance company, association or exchange and the date agreed upon by the insurance company, association or exchange and the named insured as the date of the receipt of a loss report of the claim, furnish the insurance company, association or exchange with either of the following within 14 working days of the written request:
A certificate (the "Treasurer's certificate") or, at the discretion of the Township, a verbal notification which shall be confirmed in writing by the insurer to the effect that, as of the date specified in the request, there are no delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties or user charges against the property and that, as of the date of the Treasurer's certificate or verbal notification, the Township has not certified any amount as total costs incurred by the Township for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property; or
A Treasurer's certificate and bill showing the amount of delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties and user charges against the property as of the date specified in the request that have not been paid as of the date of the Treasurer's certificate. For the purposes of this Subsection B, the Township shall certify to the Treasurer the total amount, if any, of such costs. A tax, assessment, penalty or user charge becomes delinquent at the time and on the date a lien could otherwise have been filed against the property by the Township under applicable law.
Upon the receipt of a Treasurer's certificate pursuant to Subsection B(1)(a) of this section, the insurance company, association or exchange shall pay the claim of the named insured in accordance with the policy terms.
Upon the receipt of a Treasurer's certificate and bill pursuant to Subsection B(1)(b) of this section, the insurance company, association or exchange shall return the bill to the Treasurer and transfer to the Treasurer an amount from the insurance proceeds necessary to pay the taxes, assessments, penalties, charges and costs as shown on the bill.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to make an insurance company, association or exchange liable for any amount in excess of proceeds payable under its insurance policy or for any other act performed pursuant to this article or to make the Township or any public official of the Township an insured under a policy of insurance or to create an obligation to pay delinquent property taxes or unpaid removal liens or expenses other than as provided in this article.
An insurance company, association or exchange making payment of policy proceeds under this article of delinquent taxes or structural removal liens or removal expenses incurred by the Township shall have full benefit of such payment, including all rights of subrogation and of assignment.
This article shall be liberally construed to accomplish its purpose to deter the commission of arson and related crimes, to discourage the abandonment of property and to prevent urban blight and deterioration.
The designated officer of the Township shall transmit a certified copy of this article promptly to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
The Township may by resolution adopt procedures and regulations to implement the Act and this article and may by resolution fix reasonable fees to be charged for municipal activities or services provided pursuant to the Act and this article, including but not limited to issuance of certificates and bills and opening separate fund accounts.
The Treasurer of the Township or such official's designee or designees are hereby appointed as the designated officer or officers who are authorized to carry out all responsibilities and duties stated herein.
Any owner of property, any named insured or insurer who violates the provisions of this article or who shall fail to comply with any of the provisions of this article or who shall fail to comply with any of the requirements hereof shall be sentenced upon conviction thereof to pay a fine not greater than $1,000 plus costs and in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day in which an offense shall continue shall be deemed a separate offense.