Cuyahoga County land bank gets new funding formula (Plain Dealer)

Cuyahoga Land Bank News

Cuyahoga County land bank gets new funding formula (Plain Dealer)


CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County Council has approved a new funding structure for the county land bank.

The nonprofit agency, formally called the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corp., will now tap 5 percent of the money collected on delinquent tax bills, as well as fees and interest, with a cap of $7 million.

Council voted 9-2 Wednesday on the formula, with Republicans Dave Greenspan and Mike Gallagher voting against.

State lawmakers created the land bank in 2009 to acquire blighted houses and businesses. It demolishes some structures and renovates and sells others.

For the first two years, the agency relied on just the late fees and interest payments collected on delinquent taxes — money diverted from schools, libraries, municipalities and other taxing districts. The fees and interest amounted to $4 million in 2009 and $6.7 million last year, according to the land bank.

Now, the increase to $7 million “is going to come out of our schools, libraries and municipalities,” Greenspan said Thursday. “As we see state and federal funding being reduced, I think it’s the wrong time to commit to take more money out of those.”

The new arrangement also eliminates interest payments the nonprofit agency paid the county of more than $200,000 each year.

“It’s easier to administer,” said Councilman Dale Miller. “It’s more predictable in the amount of money it’ll provide.”

Council had refused to consider the new formula until a dispute over the right to appoint land bank board members was settled.

Last month, the board approved new bylaws that require two members — Berea Mayor Cyril Kleem and South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo — to surrender their board seats May 1. They were reappointed in March without county Executive Ed FitzGerald’s approval.

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