County considering land bank

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — Preble County Commissioners are entertaining the idea of setting up a county land bank. During their meeting on Wednesday, July 19, the board discussed the pros and cons of setting up a land bank and whether they would like the villages to contribute financially.

Commissioner Rodney Creech began the discussion by saying, “I would like us to know how much it would cost us to set up a land bank, because I don’t know if we need one. If it’s not going to cost a lot, I would be interested in setting it up. If it’s going to end up costing us quite a bit up front, I don’t know if we want to set something up if we don’t know if we’re going to use it.”

“I don’t know the particulars, I just know that Shelby County said they allocated X amount of dollars to that and they’ve already spent that money,” Commissioner Chris Day said. “I didn’t get into the details on it. Basically, I don’t think it’s a lot of money.”

Commissioner Denise Robertson added, “They put a little bit of seed money into it and they asked their villages to put in a little bit. They put this pot of money together.”

“If we can form this for basically no money and have it there as basically a tool with some guidelines, I don’t think its a bad thing, but I don’t see us putting much money into it,” Day said. “The other thing is, even if we took the five percent that we’re allowed, how much would that be?”

“The only thing I don’t know, about Shelby County having municipalities putting in, is I don’t think I want that,” Creech said. “What if you end up tearing a property down and the other municipalities say, ‘We gave the same amount of money they did?’ I think it should be through the county. If all the municipalities give and say we tear down two properties in Lewisburg, everyone else is going to be upset. That’s just my thinking.”

“It was only a one time seed thing,” Robertson countered.

“Here’s the way I would handle this,” Day said. “I think if we can do it for lower the money to get it set up, if a village comes to us and has an issue with a property, we do it the same way we would do it with an individual and charge them a fee to cover our cost and maybe put that into a fund. I’m not talking a huge fee. “The land bank is just so if there if a property or properties where we feel like it would be in the best interest of the county as a whole, we have a way to acquire those and do whatever to them and pass them on.”

He ultimately recommended bringing different people from the county into the conversation to hash out the details and decide if a land bank is right for the county and the particulars of setting it up.

“I think we’re all in agreement on that,” Robertson said.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH