LIMA – The city of Lima is continuing efforts to “rehabilitate” delinquent properties, helping them once again become productive parts of the community.

This effort is conducted through the Land Acquisition and Neighborhood Development Bank, in which tax-delinquent, nonproductive properties have their foreclosures expedited so they can be made available for sale to adjacent property owners to expand their own properties. During Lima’s City Council meeting Monday, a presentation was made outlining this program.

Currently, the city is home to more than 700 vacant lots with more than 1,300 vacant structures, representing a large shortfall in tax income, according to Community Development director Amy Sackman Odum.

These lots “have over $7 million in delinquent taxes,” she said.

To qualify for the program, a property must be tax delinquent for at least two years with a total back tax value of at least $323.66, have no federal tax liens, not be forfeited to the state and not be involved in an active bankruptcy case. Once these criteria are met, they can become very attractive real estate deals.

“Delinquent taxes are remediated, meaning they are taken away so the property becomes more affordable to acquire and develop,” Sackman Odum said.

Any current owners looking to participate in the program must be current on their city and county taxes with no current property maintenance vilations. They must also agree to combine the new parcel with their current property.

Since 2000, 188 parcels have been acquired, with 20 parcels currently being processed into the bank. Between private sales and public use, 146 parcels have left the bank, with 42 parcels currently being held. Sackman Odum is hoping to make the process of selling those parcels easier in the future.

“This year, the city’s LAND Bank will be going through some changes, and part of that is trying to accelerate the process in which we can get properties into the hands of responsible property owners,” she said. “We hope to increase the number of lots that are brought into more productive use, either as a side yard expansion or, hopefully, with people building new homes or making business expansions.”