Marion council passes land bank ordinance Oct. 23

The Marion City Council established a land bank with the adoption of ordinance 1424 at its meeting Oct. 23.

City Administrator Roger Holter said a land bank is a separate entity focused on converting vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties into productive use.

“The goal of the City of Marion Land Bank is to return tax delinquent property to productive use that benefits the community,” Holter said.

Preference will be given to projects supporting home ownership, improving neighborhoods and otherwise advancing the economic and social interests of Marion and its residents, he said.

The land bank creates ad valorem tax benefits, Holter said, by getting rehabilitated properties back on the tax roll.

The number of properties that are either vacant, delinquent in taxes or abandoned totals about 84 in the city, he said, and with the land bank ordinance approved, some relief is in sight.

One of the most recent properties acquired by the city was the house at 714 Sherman Street.

Even though the city was planning to raze the structure and a half year of delinquent taxes were owed, the city won’t have to pay taxes on this property now that it’s in the land bank, he said.

Once the city has acquired property, that property may sell it without competitive bidding.

The land bank may sell property without competitive bidding, and it can be donated or purchased by the land bank, Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said.

Councilor Chris Costello asked if land banks have stimulated growth in other communities.

“The best example of (a land bank) working is Greensburg,” Holter said.

Another municipality with a land bank that’s doing well, he said, is in Lyons

Councilor Melissa Mermis said she sees this as beneficial if everything works out as discussed.

“If all else fails,” Holter said, “the bank may be dissolved by ordinance.”

In such a situation, all property of the bank will be transferred to and held by the city and may be disposed of as provided by law, according to state statute.

In other business, the council:

n approved a new trash truck on a lease-purchase agreement with Central National Bank. Heitschmidt, who is president of the bank, abstained from voting.

• approved a lease agreement with The Building Center and Marion Marble & Granite Works.

• discussed a Kansas Department of Transportation agreement requiring the city to collect and record total actual costs of all work phases of any project.

Those costs for non-participating work included:

(1) preliminary engineering, (2) rights of way with actual totals paid to landowners, (3) utility adjustments by having a total payment made to the utility companies for adjustment to utilities on private easement, and (4) construction engineering to include the total payment made to the consultant.