2011-01-27 / Front Page

City to participate in Neighborhood Stabilization Program

BY NATALIE BLYTHE
810-452-2652  NBLYTHE@MIHOMEPAPER.COM

SWARTZ CREEK — After passing on two previous rounds of distributions, the City Council approved a resolution at its Jan. 24 meeting for Swartz Creek to participate in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The program, which is a federallyfunded ARRA program, is designed to assist local communities with the purchase and rehabilitation of abandoned, foreclosed homes that are causing deterioration of neighborhoods. The city previously passed on two prior rounds of funds for the program, but City Manager Paul Bueche said Swartz Creek has become a target community for funding, and was asked to participate by Genesee County. The program is administered by the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in accordance with the stipulations, rules and regulations set forth by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the MPO.

Before approving participation in the program, Bueche gave the example of a house on Durwood that after being rented numerous times and “beaten up” by renters, the house was now a Brownfield site and off the tax rolls for 30 years with a 100 percent capture TIF.

The city entered into a contract with the Land Bank in the early 2000’s for a five-year TIF on the house. Bueche said the house remains rented but when the law changed, allowing the county to automatically set the property up into a 5/50 TIF, the Land Bank did that and extended the original five-year TIF without the city’s approval.

Currently in the city, there are more than 30 properties in foreclosure and Bueche said the county’s third-time request could possibly stem from the number of foreclosed properties in Swartz Creek. By agreeing to participate in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Bueche said there would be two options for foreclosed properties. Either the city would receive money to buy the houses, rehab them and them try to sell at market value or the county would come in and do it.

Bueche said he recommended that the county do it due to the lack of staff at City Hall for such an undertaking. “It’s a lot of work,” he said. “There’s the county paperwork, HUD paperwork and federal paperwork.”

Mayor Pro-Tem David Krueger asked Bueche if the city could find a contractual employee to handle the program. Bueche said there might a be a part-time person who could handle the program.

“All this resolution does is keep this moving,” Bueche said. “I recommend we move forward and let the county know we are doing this. They need our cooperation to do this.”

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