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Local leaders ignore value of 'eyesores'

There is too much destroying of private wealth by the city of Albany's so-called "eyesore policy." They talk of lost revenue, but obviously do not realize when they demolish a real estate structure the value on that site decreases between 60-80 percent. That means the annual taxes on that property also decrease by approximately 60 percent annually.

As a former Realtor and property owner, I see value in all real estate, not "eyesores." The city of Albany had a very good rehabilitation program of loans and grants during the '80s that helped property owners improve their properties. Such programs increased the value of improved properties and subsequently increased tax revenue.

If the city can afford to offer incentives to potential industries, why is it so hawkish about destroying existing properties instead of working with owners to improve them? Public/private ventures would be a better use of resources, even with the former Heritage House motel. Why not assist with improvements? Such joint ventures could possibly yield more than a hundred jobs and millions in hotel, alcohol and ad valorem taxes to the city and county coffers annually.

Our local politicians need to understand the meaning of urban renewal, development, redevelopment, taxation and wealth building. Today there is not a venue in Albany that can accommodate a large group, except the Civic Center.

Good leadership requires people who are willing to learn to implement that learning into action fore the benefit of those they purport to lead. Our city/county leaders are not taking advantage of the expertise of the Planning and Development staff, nor the appraisers in the tax office, to make good, cognitive decisions on critical issues. Too much money is spent on outside consultants. There is a wealth of knowledge locally that could be used, from architects to social and behavioral scientists.

Politicians need to adjust their socioeconomic vision from farsightedness to nearsightedness for local prosperity and growth. There are three institutions of higher learning in the city with experts capable of doing research or coordinating research for any project the city/county governments could or should have need for.

ART BROWN

Albany

Comments

QUIK 2 years, 5 months ago

There use to be Block Grants for rehabs but the budget hawks stop that. I used the grants to rehab a duplex but now I can't get a dime. Those buildings can create jobs and help relieve rental pressures for residents. Most cities or states can't afford the money, so only the federal government can step in - ex. stimulus money.

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waltspecht 2 years, 4 months ago

Are the taxes paid on most I these blighted buildings? I don't believe so. Plus they never seem to sell on the Court House steps due to their condition. So fix up your own property without the Taxpayer footing part of the bill for you. After all, you are the one that profits, and those grants are never paid back. I am sure most of this property is tied up through various means to protect your actual home and fortune, but that also needs to stop. These Legally Limited Corporations seem to be getting away with a lot while thier Officers seem to pull all the value out of the corporation, and protect it by either legal maneuvering, or putting it in their Wife's name. I personally think if you took the risk, the loss should also be yours.

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whattheheck 2 years, 4 months ago

Tax money is actually collected on blighted property but it is not a significant amount in my opinion and requires a lot of effort to get in some cases. For example, a property valued at $1 million brings in about $15,500 if it is actually collected. But how much of the blighted property is actually valued at a significant amount to make a difference?

As you say, Walt, make the owner absorb the loss, not the taxpayer. And in that regard, Capitol City Bank is now the owner of blighted property behind the Heritage House that was to be part of the $16 million "redevelopment" with stimulus money and is also holding the Old Maid card called the Broad St school. Go after them, not the taxpaying public. But don't hold your breath on this one because of politics. Above, QUIK mentions the block grants cut out by the budget hawks that could be used for rehab--at taxpayer expense of course. But let me mention those CDBG funds are still around, but Albany has chosen to use most of the money to build new subsidized housing units rather than fix up the old. Using borrowed stimulus money to develop subsidized housing, as with the $16 million the city tried to get on the HH property, is not the way to go.

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