Lake County appears to be moving closer to establishing a county land bank to help deal with foreclosed and abandoned properties.
Land banks have a mission to accumulate these properties by various and versatile methods. The property can be held by the county land bank, tax free, until the land can be put back to productive use.
How times have changed in just a few short years. Not long ago, many people took on enormous debt convinced they could make money by flipping or quickly selling the house for a higher price as the demand seem unsatisfiable. For others, good jobs allowed many homeowners to buy a nice home, but when the economy tanked, they lost their job and could no longer afford the mortgage. Others were provided loans that never should have been made.
But the value of property had never been higher, and now that all has changed.
Many people have discovered they live in homes with mortgages higher than what their property is worth.
Suppose you or someone you know lives next to or near an abandoned property. It’s likely you already know what an eyesore it might be or perhaps it’s a place that attracts crime. Housing leaders often note that once one property in a neighborhood is abandoned due to foreclosure it’s often not long before are as well.
Property values in Lake County are again expected to accumulatively drop when the county Auditor’s Office finishes property appraisals this year. That means less tax revenue for local governments, but it also means many investments people made for their future have taken a hit.
Some properties are now virtually worthless, so much so that homeowners simply walked away from their mortgage and in many cases the bank doesn’t want the property because it doesn’t want to pay to maintain the home or parcel.
The concept of a county land bank is fairly new in Ohio and has been championed by former Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis as a way for governments to tackle the foreclosure crisis that developed in ways never imagined. Land banks already are in place in Cuyahoga and other counties.
Lake County commissioners asked the county Prosecutor’s Office to draft the appropriate resolution to create a land bank and after that action is taken the county treasurer would need to incorporate it.
Geauga Elections Board tie
Look for the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to make a decision soon on what to do about the tie vote made March 5 by the Geauga County Elections Board in regards to hiring a deputy director.
The four-member board voted 2-2 to name Chardon Councilwoman Deborah Reiter, a Democrat, as deputy director. But since a majority vote is required, a tie vote means it could be up to Husted to break the dispute.
Democrat Arch Kimbrew had been the Elections Board director, so Husted ordered Kimbrew to be the deputy director until the tie was broken.
Reiter was nominated to serve as deputy director by the two Democratic board members — Janet Carson, the county party’s chairwoman, and Dennis Pavella. Board members Edward Ryder and Dorothy Strange voted against Reiter’s nomination resulting in the tie vote.
Lake-Geauga Young Ds
Lake-Geauga County Young Democrats will meet at 6:30 p.m. April 3 at the Geauga County Democratic Headquarters in Newbury Township. Geauga County Sheriff Daniel McClelland will attend to share information about his office and recent events in the county. Membership in the organization is open to anyone who lives or works in Lake or Geauga counties and is younger than age 37. “Like” the group’s page on Facebook for more information.