“We received so many inquiries and applications to acquire the property, we were stunned,” said Carol Knapp, executive director of Huron County Lank Bank. “The board is in the process of negotiating with the interested parties.”
The land bank received auditor deeds around Christmas time for the 10 properties and was recorded in the land bank’s name.
“We have to take care of the properties now but it’s not summertime so we’re not out there cutting the grass,” Knapp said. “We have five other properties that we want but the auditor cannot release those deeds to us until surveys are completed.”
When properties have gone to tax foreclosure sales twice, also called a sheriff sale, and are forfeited to the state the land bank has the opportunity to acquire them.
If a property is available, assistant director Karmen Ross prepares information to present to the land bank’s board.
“I go out and take pictures of the properties and then I pull how much land is on each parcel, I’ll pull the approximate value of each parcel,” Ross said. “That will help the board determine if we do acquire, what the selling price is going to be.”
The funding for the land bank comes from DTAC, delinquent tax assessment collections, which they receive in March and September, Knapp said. She said they hope to be allocated funds from the state, which would help with demolitions of dilapidated properties.
The board of the land bank votes on the properties they decide to acquire and reviews applications for buyers of the property later on.
“Before somebody can acquire a property form the landbank they need to complete an application to acquire property and basically that application says, ‘I’m not presently behind on my taxes, I don’t owe any debt,’ so that we can make a sound decision,” Knapp said.
“If somebody wants to buy the property and they are so far behind on their present taxes, (it’s) not a good match. The board reviews those applications to acquire to make a determination as to what’s in the best interest of the communities.”
Ross designed the land bank’s logo and website last year and keeps it up to date with property listings and board meeting minutes.
“I’m really excited if we have rehabs and demos, the before and afters,” Ross said. “It’s going to be a really exciting piece to have on the website, too, just to see the difference in some of these communities and the impact it has.”
Knapp said the goal of the land bank is to continue the mission to make the biggest impact possible on the communities of Huron County.
“We want to return our communities back to the beauty that is here,” Ross said. “We have a beautiful county and we want to do our part.”
This is only the second year of the land bank and Ross said they’re still learning as they move through the process of acquiring and selling properties.
“We’re still learning as we move through these processes because these are new. We haven’t had houses before and now we have,” Ross said. “Once we start all of our firsts, it will be a lot easier process as we keep going.”