Janesville to buy tax-foreclosed properties
Health care discussion postponed
The Janesville City Council on Monday postponed a discussion on a resolution urging Congress to pass legislation guaranteeing affordable health care for all Americans.
Yuri Rashkin, who co-sponsored the resolution, asked for postponement because he was to be absent Monday.
Rashkin is taking a college class Mondays at UW-Whitewater. He said he is working with his instructor so he only has to miss three council meetings, and Monday seemed a good one to miss because the agenda was light.
JANESVILLE The city council voted unanimously Monday to buy three tax-foreclosed properties, something Beloit has been doing for at least five years.
The state gives the cities in which delinquent properties are located first chance at buying them. The cities' costs include the delinquent taxes—although the cities' portion is returned—and the counties' cost to foreclose.
For the three properties, the city will pay a total of $16,000.
Beloit typically buys all properties that are tax-foreclosed. The city sets aside general fund money to buy the homes, and this year that budget is $150,000, said Tom Clippert, director of housing services.
Janesville is using tax increment financing money.
Clippert said the Beloit program has been successful in its neighborhood redevelopment efforts.
Most of the tax-foreclosures in Beloit are vacant lots that often are sold back to neighbors at a nominal fee to get back them on the tax rolls, he said.
Sometimes, the properties are purchased for infill. Most homes the city buys are in such bad shape that they are torn down.
Janesville expects to tear down at least one of the homes the council purchased Monday.
Jennifer Petruzzello, Janesville's neighborhood services director, said she just looked to buy tax-foreclosed homes in the in the central city because the city could get funding through TIF.
The homes also were within areas being considered for neighborhood redevelopment, she said.
Petruzzello said she would like the city to consider next year buying tax-foreclosed properties that complement the city's redevelopment efforts.
Beloit buys every home that is tax-foreclosed, not just the ones in targeted areas, Clippert said. Last year, the city got one in "pretty good shape," he recalled. "We did a little rehab and sold it."
The profit was returned to the general fund.
"Basically, if we didn't do this, the city in the long run would have to maintain these lots anyhow," Clippert said.
He said the city is trying to be proactive in gaining control of deteriorating property.
"It's been pretty successful."
The homes that are sold must remain owner-occupied for 10 years, Clippert said.