ALBANY, GA (WALB) - City and county leaders are one step closer to fighting the blight in Dougherty County.
Now, local leaders have a plan to turn these areas into usable properties, but first they need some help from residents.
Dougherty County Commissioner Anthony Jones told WALB News 10 that he's excited to get rid of the abandoned and blighted properties.
If you look around Albany and Dougherty County, you'll find areas filled with blighted homes that lower nearby property values.
"It's unfair to the community to just leave them there and this is really a tool that we can put in place to help address that," Albany and Dougherty Planning Director Paul Forgey said.
The tool is a land bank which will acquire blighted properties in the city and county.
Forgey said blighted properties can mean high back taxes the owner often can't pay. The land bank can step in and purchase the properties. It can then erase the back taxes and sell the property.
Commissioner Jones said he's ready to get the land bank moving.
"This is an opportunity for the city and county to make a conservative effort to clean up and fight the blight," Commissioner Jones said.
The Land Bank Authority will consist of seven individuals. Commissioners are looking for people with experience in real estate and accounting.
"We're looking for experience in banking, housing development, property development, real estate, even an attorney," Forgey said.
Commissioners will appoint members next month. The city will appoint four members and the county will appoint three members.
Those interested need to fill-out an application. For county applicants, the application deadline is Tuesday, June 20, 2017. City applicants have until the end of the month to turn their application in.
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