Williams County will spend $60,000 on filing fees in a bid to foreclose on 20 homes next year to let taxpayers know it is serious about restoring the tax rolls.
Treasurer Vicki Grimm and Prosecutor Kathy Zartman have appealed to the Board of County Commissioners for extra funds to help with the filing fees for each home. At $3,000 per house, that adds up to $60,000.
Grimm wants to start the year with 10 traditional foreclosures and then have 10 blighted properties razed. The goal is to recoup back taxes from the foreclosed homes from the new buyer and to eventually get the 10 blighted properties back on the tax rolls.
Grimm and Zartman respectively use 2.5 percent of the money set aside from interest and penalties paid on delinquent taxes. Since there are more than 330 properties on the delinquent tax list, Grimm and Zartman don’t have the funds to tap into.
Once those properties have their taxes caught up, the fund will be replenished. The county has been approved for $500,000 from the Land Bank, but that money only goes for demolition. Filing fees are not reimbursable through the Land Bank.
The county commissioners would like to help, but told Grimm to check with Auditor Julie Beagle first to make sure the process is being done correctly.
Later at a meeting of the Land Bank, it was decided the first home to use state funds to raze was a fire damaged home at 503 Williams St. in Bryan. The owner lacks the money to raze the home or repair it. The city has been battling the owner in court and now all he must do is sign the deed over to the county.
The Land Bank must hire a private attorney to represent its interests and then it will commission the Maumee Valley Planning Organization to inspect the Bryan home and nine others to see if they qualify for the Land Bank program.
The goal will be to either demolish the homes or sell the sites to someone who must meet a specific timetable to repair the house. If the deadlines are not met, ownership reverts to the Land Bank.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org