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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Steuben Legislature approves land bank

BATH – State funds may become available for Steuben County and partner municipalities for the redevelopment of vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties, with the recent approval of the Steuben County Land Bank Corporation by county legislators. The county Legislature’s approval of the nonprofit land bank Monday allows Steuben to apply for one of 10 available land banks supported through the state Land Bank Act and designed to help municipalities strengthen and revitalize their communities. County Manager Jack Wheeler told legislators that with the creation of the county Land Bank, Steuben will begin efforts to apply for state funding. If approved by the state, some startup funds from the county and municipalities may be needed to hire an independent land bank manager, but such costs may be repaid by the state, Wheeler said. The plan allows the Land Bank to demolish derelict structures and improve properties submitted to, and approved by, the county Land Bank board as a way to revitalize an area. Once the property becomes marketable, it would be sold and the proceeds returned to the land bank for future rehabilitation of other properties, Wheeler said. "The Land Bank provides the county and partner municipalities with another tool to combat rundown properties that are foreclosed or tax-delinquent, while improving neighborhoods and getting these homes back on the tax rolls," Wheeler said.