Committee of the Kent County Board of Commissioners votes to initiate process to dissolve the Kent County Land Bank Authority

The Kent County Board of Commissioners, Finance and Physical Resources Committee today discussed the findings in the Kent County Land Bank Authority (KCLBA) Review Report and voted to direct the Kent County Treasurer to withdraw from the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) between the Kent County Treasurer and the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority. The resolution will be considered at Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

The KCLBA was created on Nov. 19, 2009, through an IGA between the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority and the Kent County Treasurer. In 2016 and 2017, the Kent County Board of Commissioners’ Land Bank Review Subcommittee reviewed the KCLBA operations and made several recommendations which were adopted by the full Board of Commissioners in 2017.

“When the KCLBA was originally created, it was a valuable tool in returning tax foreclosed properties that often create blight to use and taxable status quickly and efficiently, said Wayman Britt, Kent County Administrator/Controller. “However, the improved real estate market and increasing concerns that the work currently being done by the KCLBA is outside the scope of its original purpose compelled us to take a hard look at the need for this authority in our current environment.”

The County Administrator’s Office staff completed the KCLBA Review Report in December 2018 which reviewed the statutory authority and mission of the KCLBA as well as the relationship and interaction between the KCLBA, the County and stakeholders. The report noted that, while the County Board cannot mandate its recommendations be followed by the KCLBA, the County Board can pass a resolution requiring the Kent County Treasurer to withdraw from the IGA. It was also noted that the County has the option to create a new land bank authority for Kent County if future economic conditions warrant.

The Finance and Physical Resources Committee concluded that due to the improved real estate market, the KCLBA has completed its original mission and therefore should be dissolved.

“Kent County . . . where diversity and inclusion matter” 

“This decision was consistent with the County Board’s original intent in creating the KCLBA, and is in the best interest of the County,” said Britt. “We appreciate the work of the KCLBA but its original purpose of placing tax-foreclosed proprieties back on the tax rolls has largely been fulfilled. We can certainly reestablish a land bank if economic conditions falter in the future.”

If the County Board passes a resolution on Thursday directing the Kent County Treasurer to withdraw from the IGA, the KCLBA would conclude its operation and settle its obligations. However, a twelve-month notice period would be initiated during which time the County will work with the KCLBA and the community to ensure there are no unintended consequences in the disposition of all remaining assets.