Board balks at policy on tax-reverted properties

FLINT TWP. — A month ago, the township became the owner of nearly 100 tax-reverted properties that were not sold in recent foreclosure auctions conducted by the Genesee County Treasurer’s office. Now the board is grappling with how to manage them.

The township usually turns tax-reverted properties over to the Genesee County Landbank but has first rights to claim them.

To establish a plan for disposing of them, Township Supervisor Karyn Miller proposed a written sales policy and procedure, but the board voted 4-3 to send the document to its attorney for review.

The policy spelled out procedures for selling the properties at auction or by sealed bids.

Trustee Frank Kasle was among those leery of the policy. Calling it a “can of worms,” he said that, as written, the policy stated that the township would accept all properties.

Miller responded that the board maintains the right to accept or refuse the properties each time they are offered. Accepting more of them would give the township a better handle on managing them, she said. Many of those sent to the Landbank are poorly maintained and in some case the township ends up mowing them anyway as a blight control measure..

Accepting the properties and reselling them gives the township the opportunity to recoup costs, make a profit and enhance economic development.

“As it is the intent of the Charter Township of Flint to maintain a thriving and progressive community by controlling the disposition of these properties, the Charter Township of Flint shall assume a role of ownership when these properties become available in order to provide for the best disposition of the property, enhancing the economic development of the district,” the policy stated.

But some board members were not convinced that the policy was a sound idea and ultimately decided to send it to the attorney.

During the discussion, questions were raised about who would handle selling properties through public auction.

Miller responded that a precedent is set by police and fire departments which both use public auction to dispose of tangible property such as old vehicles and equipment.

Treasurer Lisa Anderson asked if it is too late to give the properties back.

Miller said she did not know. The issue will be brought back to the board after the attorney’s review, possibly at the Jan. 22 board meeting.

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