POMEROY — The Meigs County Land Reutilization Corporation (Land Bank) held its organizational meeting last week.
Members of the current five person board are Commissioners Jimmy Will and Tim Ihle, Treasurer Peggy Yost, Middleport Village representative Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson, and Tina Rees of Peoples Bank. The board is required to include the three elected officials (two commissioners and the treasurer) and a representative from the county’s largest village among other members.
The goal of the Land Bank is to clean up dilapidated properties in the county.
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 in the summer of 2019 for the first step in the process of starting a land bank in Meigs County. The second step was the filing of paperwork by the treasurer which was completed in late 2019.
The organization of the board of directors is the latest step in the process.
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 multiple villages in the county have previously 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.
There is a process by which properties are acquired by the land bank, which can include the foreclosure process or properties which are delinquent on property taxes and have been through sheriff’s sales but did not sale.
The goal would be to complete demolition or other work on the properties and then sell them to interested individuals, or to sell the property with the buyer then to fix it up.
The board is reaching out to local attorneys with regard to working with the board on properties, including title work, deeds, contracts and other necessary legal work.
The board will be looking into grant funding to assist with the land bank, and has received donations from two local banks.
An account for the land bank is being established at Peoples Bank.
The land bank board is scheduled to meet on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.