The creation of a land bank, an article on the front page of the Morning Journal on April 15, in my mind raised more questions than it answered.
Why do we need another county bureaucracy to handle procedures which have been handled adequately for years and presently accomplish satisfactory completion?
Oh, there could be additional money? According to the article 11 counties in Ohio divided $49.5 million among themselves or $4.5 million per county. If Columbiana County joins the banking business, then the divisor rises to 12. What will be the financial benefit when the divisor becomes 88?
Four members of the governing board are designated as two commissioners, the county treasurer and a representative from Salem as the largest county city. What will happen if the fourth and fifth members appointed to the board are politically short sighted individuals who create more problems than they solve? Who makes the final selection of the fourth and fifth members?
Just today (April 18) eight more properties were forfeited to the State of Ohio for non-payment of property taxes. If these properties were transferred to the proposed land bank, would they all be headed for the destructive jaws of the track hoe?
Is the county headed for a landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots? Vacant lots do not produce much property tax. Vacant lots reduce the operating money necessary to maintain quality schools and their curriculum programs. Will the land bank drain money from the schools since two 5 percents are subtracted from the potential funds for bank operating expenses?
How does operating the land bank affect the state budget? The state has great difficulty achieving a balanced budget now and they almost always take money from the schools and then voice intentions to return it later.
Concerning vacant houses and other buildings, what has happened to the remodeling trade? Many of these buildings could be updated, improved and resold without bringing in the wrecking ball, or is it just less expensive to demolish the building and watch the grass and weeds grow on the vacant lots? By the way, who mows these vacant lots?
Also, kudos to Marilyn Parkes for her excellent remarks to Lisbon Village Council on Elkton Auto Corral situation.