Allegheny County Council OKs Participation in Land Bank
Land Bank Update
June 21, 2016
A land bank that could cover much of Allegheny County took a huge step forward Tuesday when county council members voted 14-0 to approve the county’s participation.
Council members said the Tri-COG Land Bank provides another tool to combat blight while limiting the county’s financial stake in the process.
“I give my whole support behind this,” said Councilman Ed Kress, R-Shaler, adding that he hopes communities within his district join.
The county and every other taxing body that joins the land bank commits to contributing 5 percent of delinquent taxes collected from properties in the bank’s jurisdiction and 50 percent of the property taxes collected for the first five years that a land bank property returns to the tax rolls.
Based on the current footprint of the land bank — four school districts and 11 municipalities have joined — the county would have paid $9,000 to the land bank based on delinquent taxes for 2014 collected in 2015.
All school districts and municipalities that wish to join the land bank as founding members must ratify the agreement by the end of the July, said An Lewis, executive director of the Steel Rivers Council of Governments and driving force behind the land bank. The McKeesport Area School District will meet on Wednesday to discuss the land bank, and the Shaler Area School District will meet this month. The South Allegheny School District also might hold meetings to join, Lewis said.
The land bank needed the county’s approval to exist.
“Tonight’s council vote was hugely important, very exciting and very rewarding,” Lewis said.
The land bank’s next step is to begin finalizing its policies and procedures and start selecting a board of directors, Lewis said. The land bank has a goal of raising $1.5 million during its first three years from area foundations for startup funds to begin acquiring property.
Source: Trib Live