Herkimer County to Withdraw from Land Bank
Land Bank Update
June 12, 2020
Source: Utica Observer-Dispatch
The Herkimer County Legislature voted unanimously Wednesday to withdraw from the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank, leaving some land bank officials and those that support it questioning the move.
The land bank was established in 2016 to address the Mohawk Valley’s inventory of tax-foreclosed, vacant properties, according to the Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank website. With Wednesday’s move, however, County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono said the decision will give the county more control over how blighted properties are handled.
Mohawk Valley Land Bank Chairwoman Meg Kennedy said the legislature’s decision was “very disappointing.”
Kennedy said part of the agreement that’s signed by all municipalities involved — which includes Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie counties along with municipalities in Oneida County — requires them to go through a six-month process to withdraw.
“I would like to have people know that at least six mayors or supervisors did communicate their support of the land bank to the county,” she said. “My hope would be that the legislature would carefully consider these testimonies before they follow through.”
In 2016, the Empire State Development Corporation approved the Mohawk Valley Economic Development District’s application for a multi-county land bank. Land banks are independent not-for-profit corporations created to redevelop vacant, abandoned or tax delinquent properties that have a negative effect on their communities.
“It’s a novel, new concept and we had to spend a lot of time with the county boards and legislators and have them understand the mission of the land bank,” Kennedy said. “It feels like we were finally getting up and running and this is a blow.”
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