Osceola County looks into land bank authority for property acquisitions

REED CITY — Osceola County Commissioners are taking steps to form a Land Bank Authority to acquire unwanted properties to be redeveloped.

The commission will hold a pubic hearing to discuss forming such an authority at 11 a.m. during its June 21 meeting at the Osceola County Courthouse.

Land banks are created to acquire, hold, manage and develop foreclosed, vacant, blighted, obsolete and abandoned properties. It helps eliminate barriers to return such properties to productive use.

Benefits of having a land bank include addressing environmental and/or health risk related issues on certain properties, as well as provide funding to the county by retaining proceeds from the sale or rental of redeveloped properties. The authority would receive 50 percent of the property tax revenue for the first five years following the transfer of a property to a private party.

“It could make a difference in some of our communities,” said commission Chair David Brooks. “Say there’s a big building in one of our towns that continues to sit there (unused). If we are given that building right now, I don’t know what we would do with it. With this Land Bank Authority, it gives us some options in the realm of state activity and moving things ahead with grants and permits to redevelop it.”

Commissioners will discuss passing a resolution to create the authority following the public hearing next month.

In other news, commissioners approved spending $12,900 to resurface the driveway at the Health and Human Services building. The resurfacing is expected to last more than 10 years.

“We do need to do something with that driveway, or it’s just going to get worse,” said County Coordinator Susan Vander Pol.