By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s Revenue Department says it’s doing much better at collecting property taxes.

Officials say they’ve reduced the number of delinquencies by almost a third over the last four years.

There are still 45,000 properties the city is targeting for collection, but Revenue Commissioner Frank Breslin says that’s a big improvement over what was out there when the city started stepped up enforcement in 2013.

“I think what this shows is what we’re doing right now is working. We’re very happy with the results,” Breslin said.

img 0703 Philadelphia Revenue Department Improves Property Tax Collection

(L-R) Frank Breslin, Liana Dragoman, Anjali Chainani, and Knight program director Patrick Morgan. (credit: Pat Loeb)

He says the city is using methods, such as behavioral science and a case management system that scores delinquencies, to determine how best to collect.

“The goal here is to bring people into compliance, not to put anyone out of their home,” Breslin said. “So for those that are delinquent, we have ways for them to come into compliance, we have payment plans that are affordable, and for those that are unwilling to pay, then we’re going to use our most aggressive collection techniques, which are sheriffs sales and receivership.”

Breslin calls it “aggressive but compassionate.” He says it’s netted some $67 million so far.