The city’s land bank was adopted on June 11, 2007. It took years of planning from 2006 until the first land bank property was sold in 2010.
Since adoption of the city’s land bank, it has been self-supporting with no funds expended from the general fund. The Law Department’s budget picks up the portion representing wages for the percentage of the time dedicated to administering the program, plus, some wages have been recouped through sales that generated a profit.
Distributions of the real estate taxes are the following: (ref. public records)
• 77% Sandusky City Schools
• 4% Mental Health & Retardation
• 4% Erie County General Fund
• 2% Erie-Ottawa mental Health District
• 2% Erie-Lorain Health District
Land bank activity from 2010 to present:
• Acquired 92 parcels and sold 51.5 parcels.
• Land bank sales are generating approximately $21,749.05 a year in real estate taxes.
• Five properties sold at a profit totaling $131,150.28 refunding to the taxing districts and creating a new business that has expanded its operations.
The Mow to Own Program was implemented in 2011. The program seems to be the most popular program helping neighbors obtain vacant property next to them by maintaining the land for a period of time in exchange for the title to the land.
The schools stand to benefit the most from real estate taxes and that is why it is important for the county to stay aggressive in collecting delinquent taxes, since the delinquencies have mounted to a whopping $10.7 million. When people are not paying their fair share of taxes, the schools end up coming to the taxpayers to approve levies to make up for the loss.
Some delinquent property owners are on the payment plan, but the plan should not be abused in anyway. The plan needs to be implemented in such a manner that the ultimate goal is to catch up on the taxes in a short period of time and stay caught up. Delinquencies should never get so far behind that it will be impossible to ever recover the back taxes even while on the payment plan.