Blighted Property Remedy Plan

In addition to all the new development this plan hopes to create, the cities and county must work in conjunction to address the challenge of blighted properties. 

The jurisdictions need to adopt county-wide property maintenance standard for all structures and premises. A standard code would make maintenance a legal requirement and protect growing property values in addition to health, safety, and welfare of residents.  

We recommend using the International Property Maintenance Code.  

Property Codes are the first, and easiest step. The more challenging piece is enforcement as codes do no good unless there is action behind the policy.    

We recommend all cities in Wayne County buy into a program, with policy and financial investments. The County will then determine capacity with the county’s Environmental Health Department. If there is not capacity, additional part-time staff should be added. Regardless, it will be critical for this officer to be properly trained and have capacity to enforce these codes   

Wayne County should develop a 28E agreement with the cities that outlines the specific scope – including the enforcement officer’s duties as well as those of the county and cities – and fees, including the structure for the payment of funds.    

To ensure program success, the agreement(s) and funding commitments should initially cover a three-year period. As the three– year window comes to a close, the county and cities will need to assess early successes and outcomes and modify the program as needed to ensure long-term success.      

Funding for the position should be shared amongst the county and cities. Investment should be calculated based on population and the number of housing units. Since the code enforcement officer’s work will be largely on the number of units, this element should be weighted more than population; of course the two typically correlate.        

Funding for the position should be shared amongst the county and cities. Investment should be calculated based on population and the number of housing units. Since the code enforcement officer’s work will be largely on the number of units, this element should be weighted more than population; of course the two typically correlate.        

Action Steps:

  • Review International Property Maintenance Codes; amend as necessary. Adopt code at county level.
  • Design enforcement program.
  • Map homes and make list of priority properties to target first (residential or commercial).
  • Create program to apply for assistance (RLF) or city/county assume ownership       

Delinquent Tax property program

Unpaid property taxes threaten revenues for municipalities and their abilities to provide public services.   

According to the Wayne County Treasure’s office there are currently over 1,044 parcels that are tax delinquent equaling $405,104 in unpaid property taxes.    

While most of these parcels owe less than $1,000, 110 owe between $1,000-$2,500, and 43 owe between $2,501-$10,015   

101 of these properties are both vacant and tax delinquent.

Layered with the blighted property program, a tax delinquency property program would be a powerful tool for added development and improvement options across the county.    

Currently, most governments, including Wayne County, use a tax lien / sale program, which often sells the parcel to another owner who has little intention and no commitment requirements to redevelop or maintain the property. Additionally, most governments don’t have programs in place to prevent owners with financial hardships to meet their tax obligations and be able to keep their homes. 

We recommend Wayne County adopt an innovative delinquent property tax sale program that will put these properties back to productive use, capture dollars for local taxpayers, and help current owners who are facing financial hardships resolve any problems before losing their homes.

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