Allen County making progress on land bank (LimaOhio.com)

LIMA — Work is continuing on getting the Allen County Land Reutilization Corporation, or land bank, up and running, with county commissioners passing two resolutions Thursday to help get the framework in place.

Commissioners approved a motion to place two commissioners on the land bank’s board of directors, as required by Ohio law. Jay Begg and Cory Noonan will serve in that capacity. The Ohio Revised Code also requires that the county treasurer, a representative from the largest municipality in the county as well as one representative for townships with populations over 10,000, which would be American and Shawnee townships, in this case.

“It used to be that just the largest township got to appoint a representative,” county treasurer Rachael Gilroy said. “But now, the law says any township over 10,000 residents gets to be in on the decision, and between the townships, they must appoint a representative between them. So that brought in Shawnee Township to the table.”

Both townships decided on American Township zoning inspector Bill Haidle as their representative,with Lima’s director of community development, Amy Sackman Odum, representing the city.

Commissioners also aproved the designation of 5 percent of all tax delinquent interest and penalty payments to go to the land bank to cover administrative costs.

“That will be our operating expense and possibly demolitions that would not apply under this (Hardest Hit Fund) grant,” she said. “The grant we’re hoping to apply for only applies to residential properties, and it can do apartment buildings, but only if it has one to four units. But there are so many places that have a commercial building that needs to come down, and this money would help us get that funding to bring those down.”

By establishing a land bank, the county hopes to put itself in a position to receive as much as $4 million or $5 million from the Hardest Hit Fund to demolish blighted properties in the county.

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