Sunday, March 02, 2008

Making it Harder on the Neighborhood Killers - Changes to Indiana Code from 2006

In March 2006, Public Law No. 169-2006 (HEA 1102) was signed into law. It amended the Unsafe Building Law (Indiana Code 36-7-9), property tax collection and enforcement, and redevelopment law. In the broadest of overviews, “it improves the ability of county executives and redevelopment commissions to effectively deal with abandoned properties in their jurisdictions.”

A technical guide is available that introduces and summarizes the statutory changes. It’s a rather dry read but it’s certainly worth the effort if you are involved with a community organization in New Albany, Floyd County or in any county in Indiana.

As described on page 6 of the guide, some of the new legal tools are:
Increase the carrying cost of abandoned and vacant properties – increasing civil penalties allowed and allowing for performance bonds to be issued to bring a property into compliance.

Improving the efficiency of the tax sale process – shortening the tax sale process and if not sold, transferring properties to the county executive.

Expanding the range of property redevelopment options – allowing the creation of Land Banks and increasing disposition options.

My favorite new legal tool is the exclusion of any Unsafe Building Law violators from participating in tax sales. That’s a pesky little change that, if enforced, would certainly prohibit a habitual devaluator of our neighborhoods from spreading their cancer further.

I have a couple hard copies of the guide and will forward to anyone interested.

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