(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph Land Bank Bill was signed into law back in June 2019, but now Land Bank Board members say they don't have the funding to get the program started.
That was a big topic for board members at a regular monthly meeting Monday night, Clint Thompson, Director of Planning and Community Development, said. The board evaluated their options for obtaining funding, which included possible assistance from the City of St. Joseph.
"The City Council has been obviously very supportive of the creation of the Land Bank program, but also in assisting the Land Bank Board in getting off their feet," Thompson said.
There were three possible City funding options discussed at the meeting for the Land Bank Board to utilize, which include Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), the City's Gaming funds and landfill revenue. Thompson said the landfill funds are currently used for one of the City's demolition programs, but it and the CDBG funds may come with some restrictions on how they can be used.
"One thing that City staff is working on is to better understand any possible restrictions for the use of those funds," Thomson said. "One of the uses by the Land Bank Board would be to acquire property potentially, and whether or not one of the three funding sources that were discussed would have any limitations for the acquisition of the property."
Thompson added that the board is hoping to get about $150,000 from the current fiscal year's budget to kick-start the program. The City would potentially be assisting the program for the first three to five years, until it generates enough money of its own.
"The Land Bank has the opportunity to collect revenue on properties up to three years after the property is transferred to a new owner, and collect 100 percent of those new taxes," Thompson said.
City staff won't present a funding ordinance to City Council until they look into the revenue options a little further. Any final decisions will eventually be voted on by the council.