Macomb County Officials Propose Establishing Land Bank Authority
November 24, 2023
Macomb County officials are looking at forming a Land Bank Authority that would allow the county to obtain distressed properties, rehabilitate them and sell them so they can be put to good use.
Officials representing County Executive Mark Hackel’s administration and county Treasurer Larry Rocca appeared in front of the county Board of Commissioners recently asking the board to approve a resolution and an inter-governmental agreement with the state to set it up.
Officials told the board the program is a way to improve residential, commercial and industrial properties that no one else wants to own.
“We want to revitalize the property,” Paige Bachand, deputy treasurer of collections, told the board at the Nov. 14 meeting in the County Administration Building in Mount Clemens. “We want to return that property to a productive use so it generates taxes and we don’t have blight in the community. This is another tool that we have to revitalize those pieces of property.”
The proposal stems from a federal appeals court ruling in October 2022 in an Oakland County case that outlawed the past practice of allowing local communities to purchase foreclosed properties by merely paying the unpaid taxes. The communities then could rehabilitate and resell them.
Now, all properties must go to a public auction at which anybody can bid on them, and a second auction at which communities can purchase them. Some communities want no part of buying those properties, officials said.
“We’re targeting under-utilized properties, bringing in additional resources that communities right now can’t access, to enterprise those sites and to bring them back to active use in the community,” Deputy County Executive John Paul Rea said to commissioners.
One caveat that some commissioners complained about was that the authority must be approved and have a meeting by Dec. 31 in order to be eligible for state funds to help with projects.
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