By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As Philadelphia City Council hunkers down in coming months to set a new property tax rate, the six freshmen on council are pushing a related topic: how to better nab tax deadbeats.

Six council members first took office a year ago — four Democrats and two Republicans — and they have now joined together to propose a series of hearings on tax deadbeats.

“There’s money to be collected. And we need to go and get it. And we need to do a good job in going to get it. There’s no reason that Philadelphia should be at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to collecting these resources,” says Eighth District Council woman Cindy Bass.

Nutter Administration estimates that the city is owed $518 million dollars in back taxes dating back a decade (see related story). About half of that amount is delinquent property taxes.

Another freshman councilman, at-large Republican David Oh, says now is the time to get that money.

“Going into this budget cycle, where we will be asked to come up with more money for our schools and public services, it is not fair that not everyone is paying their taxes.”

The freshmen agenda comes days after Mayor Nutter announced his own deadbeat initiative, including spending $25 million dollars for a new computer system to track the scofflaws.

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