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Jefferson County

Jefferson County

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Jefferson County considering land banks

Updated: Tuesday, August 19 2014, 10:40 AM EDT
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio – If you're not familiar with a land bank, it's something commissioners are considering creating in Jefferson County, and it could have an impact on those abandoned properties you find next door.
Eighteen counties in the state of Ohio have a land bank to return condemned and abandoned properties back into usable acreage.
In addition to providing an avenue for rehabilitation for dilapidated and unused structures, it can also provide a fresh start for someone taking over a repossessed building.
“It gives this county the ability to grab tax delinquent, vacant properties and bring them back into productive re-use,” said Jim Rokakis, director of thriving communities’ institute.
A board that will run the land bank will consist of five members: Two County Commissioners, the County Treasurer, a representative from Steubenville and a representative with development experience.
“If you live next door to a house that's been vacant, and is an eye sore and is a death trap, kids are hanging out there and maybe it is being used to sell drugs, you can take that property down,” Rokakis said. “And under this money that's now being made available, you can now green that lot and then transfer it to the next door neighbor.”
The land bank will be funded by setting aside a percentage of the delinquent taxes that are collected gaining funding from the delinquent taxpayers of Jefferson County.
“The most powerful part of the land bank statute is if the property is foreclosed in the land bank bill, all of the liens and all of the imperfections are wiped clean,” Rokakis said. “That is the single, most valuable tool in the land bank bill.”
The next step for commissioners is passing a resolution authorizing the creation of the land banks.
They must do so before the percentage of the delinquent tax can be used for the bank.

Jefferson County considering land banks

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