"Land Bank" to buy abandoned property; funded by your tax dollar - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

A Hamilton County “land bank” to buy abandoned property; funded by your tax dollars

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) -

The question has been raised if Hamilton County should pay for potential development with money supplied by schools and county services.

Hamilton County Commissioners have proposed a plan to buy up vacant and abandoned properties. The County would use $2.4 million per year from something called a "land bank" to acquire the properties. They would then sell those properties to developers in the hopes of making back additional tax money.

Here is where the debate comes in. That $2.4 million per year would come from schools, cities, villages, and public service groups. County schools would kick $1.4 million into the land bank. Cincinnati Public would pay half of that. Cities, villages, and townships would foot $476,000, and public services, such as the Zoo, the museum center, and the library, would kick in $537,000; making up the grand total of $2.4 million.

Here is why the Hamilton County Commissioners thing this is a good idea: The plan would lower the number of foreclosure filings, which increased 168 percent in Hamilton County between 1999 and 2010. It is those abandoned and vacant properties that drag down property values, which means less tax money the county can collect.

Buying and selling properties to developers could boost property values and tax money collected; tax money that would end up back in the hands of the groups funding the plan.

On the flip side are the arguments from schools, cities and public services. Those groups are already facing state cuts and have existing money trouble because of the economy.

Taxpayers are paying for education and services, not property development.

"It allows the county to focus on where those challenging properties are and how we can make their income generating properties; both for business and residences," said Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartman.

On the other side is one of the public services impacted under this plan; the Hamilton County Public Library. The library would have $35,000 taken away.

$35,000 out of a budget of $55 million might not seem like a lot, but add that to a five percent cut from the state and county reappraisals, it means a reduction in funding. This is from a budget that has been cut 30 percent in the last 10 years. To put this in perspective, the cuts translate into 2,300 books. $35,000 means 40 computers.

$35,000 is 10 percent of the operating cost for some library branches; branches that moms like Jennifer LeCrone rely on. "At least one a week, in the summer we come three times a week." On this trip, they're picking out CD's and books on tape for an upcoming road trip. They come for the books, to use the computers; for everything the public library offers. "I can't imagine what we would do because it's so integral in our lives."

LeCrone says she's bothered that the commissioners would consider using library levy monies for another purpose. "I always vote when there's a levy for the library. I am always voting ‘yes' because it's very very important to me."

It is also important to the millions of patrons who walk through the doors every year.

"We've become much more efficient but you get to a point where you can't absorb more cuts," said Greg Edwards, with Hamilton County Public Library.

The Commissioners need to vote on this plan which is expected to happen later this month. If they vote ‘yes' they will need to appoint an agency to run the program. We've learned the commissioners have been in discussions with the port authority.

Tell us what you think by sounding off on this issue. Click here to join the thread on Facebook.

COUNTY LEVIES TOTAL

  • GENERAL $80,705.75
  • PARK DISTRICT $29,416.83
  • FAMILY SERVICES $12,141.30
  • CHILDREN SERVICES $65,744.74
  • DEVELOPMENTAL DISAB $129,778.98
  • MUSEUM CENTER $5,547.34
  • CRIME INFO CENTER $6,460.90
  • COMM MENTAL HEALTH $58,626.73
  • ZOOLOGICAL PARK $12,086.61
  • INDIGENT CARE UC HOSP $67,299.11
  • LIBRARY $35,710.02
  • SENIOR SERVICES $33,970.09

TOTALS $537,488.40

TIF'S TOTAL

  • CINCINNATI $38,711.40
  • FOREST PARK $7.64
  • MONTGOMERY $8,161.94
  • SHARONVILLE $122.68
  • SPRINGDALE $691.63
  • ANDERSON $12,137.49
  • DELHI $4,322.53
  • GREENHILLS $28,449.26
  • SYCAMORE $3,091.18
  • SYMMES $517.95
  • WHITEWATER REG SD $95.41

TOTALS $96,309.11

CITIES/VILLAGES TOTAL

  • CINCINNATI $145,565.20
  • ADDYSTON $377.05
  • AMBERLEY $1,733.50
  • ARLINGTON HT $411.09
  • BLUE ASH $3,476.30
  • CHEVIOT $4,444.68
  • CLEVES $1,706.42
  • DEER PARK $1,773.70
  • ELMWOOD PL $1,346.74
  • EVENDALE $1,048.26
  • FAIRFAX $296.91
  • FOREST PK $10,514.59
  • GLENDALE $2,976.35
  • GOLF MANOR $8,824.64
  • GREENHILLS $1,766.96
  • HARRISON $5,006.06
  • INDIAN HILL $1,140.59
  • LINCOLN HTS $6,912.40
  • LOCKLAND $1,581.74
  • MADEIRA $3,653.16
  • LOVELAND $5,088.97
  • MARIEMONT $867.15
  • MILFORD $176.57
  • MONTGOMERY $5,539.98
  • MT. HEALTHY $2,342.91
  • NEWTOWN $633.69
  • NORTH BEND $739.59
  • N COLLEGE HILL $2,639.20
  • NORWOOD $5,284.03
  • READING $1,344.01
  • ST BERNARD $2,102.01
  • SHARONVILLE $239.79
  • SILVERTON $2,344.40
  • SPRINGDALE $2,495.33
  • TERRACE PK $1,505.81
  • WOODLAWN $907.12
  • WYOMING $3,625.87

TOTALS $242,432.77

SCHOOL DISTRICT TOTAL

  • CINCINNATI $703,297.31
  • DEER PARK $16,204.36
  • FINNEYTOWN $16,333.22
  • FOREST HILLS $45,694.83
  • INDIAN HILL $39,278.41
  • LOCKLAND $9,794.41
  • LOVELAND $31,351.73
  • MADEIRA $19,789.43
  • MARIEMONT $22,023.34
  • MILFORD $275.07
  • MT. HEALTHY $36,060.47
  • N. COLLEGE HILL $13,154.68
  • NORTHWEST $74,764.04
  • NORWOOD $23,022.36
  • OAK HILLS $41,733.47
  • PRINCETON $66,862.43
  • READING $15,266.89
  • SOUTHWEST $26,838.97
  • ST. BERNARD $12,545.11
  • SYCAMORE $79,524.67
  • THREE RIVER $13,532.34
  • WINTON WOODS $48,722.30
  • WYOMING $13,214.99
  • GREAT OAKS $36,211.80
  • BUTLER TECH $4,958.57

TOTALS $1,410,455.20

TOWNSHIP TOTAL

  • ANDERSON $15,154.55
  • COLERAIN $23,550.92
  • COLUMBIA $3,163.05
  • CROSBY $2,178.49
  • DELHI $12,173.29
  • GREEN $10,839.25
  • HARRISON $896.09
  • MIAMI $10,578.88
  • SPRINGFIELD $29,115.45
  • SYCAMORE $7,077.72
  • SYMMES $8,174.07
  • WHITEWATER $3,398.19
  • ANDERSON PARK $2,893.52
  • WEST JAD $1,457.81
  • DP-SILVER JFD $2,720.86
  • LM-JFD $3,930.69

TOTAL $137,302.83

GRAND TOTAL $2,423,988.31

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