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Dauphin County on verge of creating land bank authority

By - Last modified: May 1, 2013 at 12:12 PM

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The Dauphin County commissioners next Wednesday are expected to adopt an ordinance that would create what could be the first municipal land bank authority under Act 153, which Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law last October.

Commissioner George Hartwick III said the county has had interest in the proposal from about 10 small boroughs and at least one township.

Land banks are designed to acquire, manage and market vacant and tax-foreclosured properties. The goal is to clean up title on these properties — often acquired through tax sales or a county’s repository of unsold properties — and get them back into productive reuse.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox to address blight,” Hartwick said a commissioners’ workshop meeting. “It’s the only way to promote smart growth.”

The county intends to keep the land bank small in scope. Officials hope to use $250,000 in gaming funds as seed money to establish the land bank, Hartwick said.

The proposal calls for property tax revenue sharing for five years between the land bank and taxing bodies once the property goes back on the tax rolls.

As the authority successfully gets properties back to productive uses, he said he believes more and more county municipalities will want to participate.

The county land bank authority would be comprised of seven members — five from the Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority and two additional members appointed by the commissioners.

“This could be a model ordinance for other jurisdictions,” Hartwick said.

 

Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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