Muskogee city councilors would be making a mistake by trying to jack up the price of tax-delinquent properties sold to residents.
When the county comes into possession of property, the county becomes responsible for that property’s maintenance.
Because the county is the owner, the property does not generate property taxes.
If those properties are within the city limits, the county can give the properties to the city.
The city can then sell the property to a qualified resident for $163.
That price appears to be too low for some city councilors.
They see an opportunity to help raise funds for the city’s demolition program that razes condemned buildings.
The demolition program needs help. It needs more funding to knock down more eyesore structures.
Councilors should be looking for more sources to better fund the demolition program.
The tax-delinquent property program is not the place to start.
Selling tax-delinquent properties to people who will maintain them and pay property taxes helps both the city and county.
The county no longer has to find ways to cut the grass and would receive an increase in ad valorem taxes.
Citizens benefit from additional funding for public schools. And the look of neighborhoods improve.
If the council tries to sell these properties at a much greater price, the properties probably won’t sell.
Let’s face it, no one wants the property at what would be considered market value or the properties would not on the tax-delinquent list in the first place.
There is a market for these properties.
The city should not try to price themselves out of that market.