POMEROY — Paperwork has been filed to establish a land bank in Meigs County.
After some delay, and a town hall meeting on the subject earlier this month, paperwork was signed and submitted on Monday by Treasurer Peggy Yost and Board of County Commissioner President Tim Ihle completing the establishment process, said Ihle.
With the filing of the paperwork, Meigs becomes the state’s 58th county with a land bank.
The land banks are designed to help revitalize areas and properties which have been abandoned or have not been taken care of for many years.
As previously reported by the Sentinel, the commissioners approved a resolution over the summer for the first step in the process.The second step was the filing by the treasurer.
State funds had been available for counties establishing a land bank to assist with start-up funding.
As was stated during the town hall meeting, the available funding had decreased from the original $250,000 to approximately $175,000.
Commissioner Jimmy Will said on Friday it is not yet known what start-up funds the county will ultimately receive as there are House Bills which could provide for additional funding. He added that the Dec. 31 original deadline is no longer an issue as the filing of the paperwork made it clear Meigs is proceeding with the land bank.
According to the Center for Community Progress, “land banks are governmental entities or nonprofit corporations that are focused on the conversion of vacant, abandoned, and tax delinquent properties into productive use.”
The idea of a land bank is not new, the original legislation was passed in Ohio in 2008 for Cuyahoga County only. The law was amended in 2010 for counties with populations of at least 60,000. In 2015, the population requirement was removed, and now all counties are eligible to form county land banks.
Representatives from Middleport, Pomeroy, Racine and Syracuse has all expressed their support for the land bank as a way to help their villages and the area as a whole.
While the land bank is not a solution to delinquent property taxes, it can be a tool to assist the county in collection of those taxes.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.