You are the owner of this article.
City, county opening tax delinquent properties for inspections
City of Racine

City, county opening tax delinquent properties for inspections

{{featured_button_text}}

RACINE — The city, county and Redevelopment Authority have submitted a proposed agreement that would allow all three entities access to tax-delinquent properties to assess environmental contamination.

City Development Director Amy Connolly told the City Council’s Finance and Personnel Committee on Monday that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) would only apply to commercial or industrial properties, which require an environmental evaluation before the property can transfer or the buyer can acquire financing.

“We can’t make a project go forward until we know the extent of the environmental contamination (on the site),” said Connolly.

The county has access to tax delinquent properties but is required to receive committee and board approval for each inspection. Connolly told the committee that the current system can take six to eight weeks.

The RDA is included in the MOU because of its ability to conduct environmental assessments which are at least in part funded through the Environmental Protection Agency.

The goal of the MOU is to speed up the process of transferring the properties to new owners, who could then mitigate the damage, restore the property and return the lot to the tax rolls.

“Frequently, a buyer emerges, but the existing county practice of requiring individual County Board approval each access simply takes too much time to respond to the buyer’s needs,” Connolly stated in the briefing memorandum. “The MOU would allow a much faster response with a request from the RDA and response from the County allowing access upon proof of insurance and signed liability waiver for all those that would enter the property.”

New proposed procedure

The new procedure would require the RDA to contact the county treasurer with a request to inspect a particular property. The treasurer would then check that the property has a tax certificate, which indicates the property owner has not paid property taxes in three years or more. If there is a certificate for the property, the treasurer would give the RDA permission to conduct an assessment.

Connolly said that the process is being developed to target vacant properties where the city and county are unable to reach the property owner.

“We can turn around a lot of these vacant industrial or commercial properties,” said Connolly.

The background information segment of the MOU laid out an argument for intervention with Racine’s many tax delinquent properties:

“Such properties attract illicit activity that results in crime, stripping of salvage, deterioration of the structure, unhealthy and unsafe conditions and possible environmental contamination. Costs of managing such problems could be avoided or reduced and property tax revenues could be increased if tax delinquent properties were investigated and transferred to new ownership early in the cycle.”

The proposal was already approved by the Racine County Board on June 25.

The Finance and Personnel Committee voted to send it to the City Council with a recommendation to approve.

The Redevelopment Authority voted to forward the MOU with a recommendation to approve at its meeting on July 18.

The next full council meeting is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Aug. 7 at City Hall, 730, Room 205.

“Such properties attract illicit activity that results in crime, stripping of salvage, deterioration of the structure, unhealthy and unsafe conditions and possible environmental contamination. Costs of managing such problems could be avoided or reduced and property tax revenues could be increased if tax delinquent properties were investigated and transferred to new ownership early in the cycle.” City memo on tax-delinquent properties

This article has been revised from an earlier version.

"Such properties attract illicit activity that results in crime, stripping of salvage, deterioration of the structure, unhealthy and unsafe conditions and possible environmental contamination. Costs of managing such problems could be avoided or reduced and property tax revenues could be increased if tax delinquent properties were investigated and transferred to new ownership early in the cycle."

City memo on tax-delinquent properties

Quote
0
0
0
0
0

Get Government & Politics updates in your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the City of Racine and the City of Burlington and is a not-bad photographer. In her spare time she tries to keep her plants and guinea pigs alive and happy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alert

Breaking News