Let’s Fix That Tax Sale By George Lumley

first_imgLet’s Fix That Tax Sale: 4th in a seriesMyth Busting Continues By George LumleyAlmost time for the Christmas story that I found at the tax sale. Look for it next week. This week I want to add to the growing list of corrections to the misinformation that has been disseminated about the blight as it relates to the tax sale. So far I have covered that of the thousands of vacant and blighted houses only a small portion are involved in the tax sale process; That the sale process results in revenues to the taxing units while finding permanent solutions to many blighted properties without further burden to taxpayers; that the effective and efficient sale process used to collect taxes has had recent legislated revisions to make it a new tool to fight blight; and that people in the neighborhoods will buy these blighted tax sale properties, maintain these properties and even pay taxes on them.Letting the people in the neighborhoods own these properties is a much better alternative to the Land bank Idea promoted by the Department of Metropolitan Development and their private Evansville Brownfields Corporation Inc. I still support my position that Mr. Kelly Coures was wrong in stating that people in the Howell neighborhood, neighbors to properties, were not high enough quality in his opinion to own a vacant lot next to their house. I just do not see how he can justify spending almost $1,000 each year of public resources to maintain a lot land banked by the Brownfields until he finds an owner that suits his standards.Quite a few of the land bank expansion supporters have approached me to tell me why they think we need the expanded land bank. These supporters usually carry the same list of propaganda whether they represent churches, nonprofits, government, political allies, or neighborhoods. We do share common ground. Most of the ones contacting me in favor of funding land banking do not think it should be funded as a no strings attached gift of money to a nonprofit, especially if that nonprofit is the Brownfields.One of the ideas being presented is that there needs to be a central authority to keep track of all available property. One organization rather than various nonprofits, government, and private sector owners that may have different ideas or difficulty coordinating and developing properties. They think we need one small group to decide who can own and what can be done with any property that becomes tax delinquent. When a minister was presenting this idea I asked if maybe we also needed a central religion. I think I offended him. We do not need a central land authority any more than we need a central religion.We do need a Department of Metropolitan Development, Building Commission, and County Assessor to work together with the super powerful computers we have at the civic center to provide central access to all the records that are currently maintained so that anyone can look at potential development.Another Idea is that we need a land bank to hold lots until they can accumulate them into larger tracts suitable for development. I have been asking different ones presenting this Idea to take me to one such lot.Finally I had someone volunteer to show me one of the lots that no one wanted that should be land banked at the public’s expense until a bunch could be put together for a major development. We arrived at the lot which sat between two rentals that were in fair to better than average condition. Across the street were a couple of nice well cared for homes that were probably owner occupied. Ok there is the lot, where are the adjoining ones that will be accumulated and how long do you think that will take, I asked. Again, there were nice rentals on each side and what appeared to be nice owner occupied housing across and up the street. My guide agreed that it might be a very long time before more lots were available. He also agreed there might be a financial problem with the idea of the taxpayers land banking this lot at a cost of $1000 a year for looking after its maintenance. It could be fifty years before another lot becomes available. I offered my solution for such a case and I think he liked it.Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with putting lots together for development. I don’t know about large subsidized housing development, that is a thing of the past, but smaller development goes on already. The land bank proponents claim that an expanded land bank is need to put two lots together; however, Habitat, a small land bank, does this this all the time. Habitat was at the tax sale buying lots for just that purpose. I think we bid on some of the same lots.One of the lots that I bought is only 25 feet wide and I thought I would give it to a neighbor or put out a garden. One neighboring lot is owned by a bank. I contacted the bank and they will gladly sell me their lot for $1.00. They currently pay a contractor to mow it. I plan to counter offer that they pay me $500 and I will take it. I would then have a 50 foot wide Building site along with $500 to donate to Habitat. Or I can make a pumpkin patch and give jack o lanterns to the neighbors. Or I could give it to the Brownfields and they could pay $1000 a year in public resources to mow it routinely for the next 20 years so they can control what happens to its future. The Brownfields seem to dislike gardens so they could prevent the neighbors from having an unsightly garden and just mow it with public resources.Hard to believe but with most lots, even though they represent a responsibility to be cared for and taxes to be paid, I have been finding people in the neighborhood to take on that obligation with pride in ownership and commitment to their neighbors.I considered splitting my 25 foot wide lots that I bought at the tax sale and giving half to the neighbor on each side. I have heard about doing that many times. The Building Commission in South Bend claims this process is a successful part of their program. In Evansville I have heard that the city does it but the process results in a lot of problems. Supposedly that is one of the reasons we need to expand the land bank. I have been looking for these problem properties to see just exactly what the problem is. I just have not been able to find these problem situations or any recently divided lots. I sent the city a formal records request of these divided properties to see if I could isolate those that might have problems. I was surprised that the City replied that they didn’t have any record of any involvement in dividing lots. I think this must be one of those problem issues that Evansville leaders brought back from Detroit. A problem in Detroit but not here. Kind of supports my theory that the major problem with the tax sale, post legislated blight reforms if implemented, is misinformation and attempted manipulation to drive this $2.5 million no strings attached gift to the Brownfields.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Syracuse sinks 14 3-pointers in 65-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore

first_imgIt took less than three minutes for Syracuse to establish its gameplan on Tuesday night.After the Orange won the opening tip, Digna Strautmane found a wide-open Emily Engstler at the top of the arc. She shot and sunk a 3-pointer. Less than a minute later, Strautmane misfired one of her own. The Orange’s next three times down the court ended in two missed 3-pointers and a turnover.Early on, it looked like SU’s strategy of relying on the long ball wasn’t going to work. With a minute left in the first quarter, the Orange were 2-for-9 from beyond the arc. But quick long balls from Strautmane and Gabrielle Cooper in the final minute of the quarter gave No. 20 Syracuse (2-0) a lead it never surrendered in a 65-50 win over Maryland Eastern Shore (1-2) on Tuesday night in the Carrier Dome. The Orange shot 37 threes, a mark it surpassed just three times all of last season and 10 more than in their season opener versus Ohio. But its 14 makes accounted for almost 65% of SU’s points.“We’re a great shooting team,” Engstler said. “It was our gameplan going in, but they definitely were not guarding us that well.”Syracuse typically does not rely on making a high number of threes. It averaged 9.2 makes on 27.2 three-point attempts per game last season, and that was with Tiana Mangakahia and SU’s all-time leading 3-point shooter Miranda Drummond as its primary scorers. Cooper and Strautmane averaged 5.2 and 4.3 three-point attempts per game in 2018-19, respectively. Through two games this year, Cooper has attempted 19 3-pointers while Strautmane has 14, including nine on Tuesday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAll but two of SU’s 14 points in the first quarter came from beyond the arc. Engstler sunk two while Strautmane and Cooper each tallied one. Of the 10 players head coach Quentin Hillsman used in the first 12 minutes of the game, six attempted a three.“We had to take what they gave us, and they were in the zone for the entire game,” Hillsman said. Syracuse’s two made threes to end the first quarter didn’t carry over into the second, though. Strautmane and Engstler each missed deep attempts, and with seven minutes remaining in the half, the Orange held a one-point lead. Then, Taleah Washington provided the spark SU needed to pull away.Following the under-five minute media timeout, Washington swished a three from the left wing, giving SU a six-point lead. The Orange forced a shot clock violation on the Hawks’ next possession, then found the freshman in the same spot moments later. Another make.“Anytime we can stretch the floor, make threes and make shots, we’re gonna be tough to deal with,” Hillsman said. “And (Taleah) is a good player, she can shoot the ball with range.”Syracuse shot 7-for-19 from three in the first half, but its two main threats from deep — Strautmane and Cooper — struggled. The two combined to shoot 2-for-7 from deep through two quarters. During the second quarter, Hillsman challenged Strautmane, who admitted that opting not to shoot when her shots aren’t falling “is an issue with her.” He told her she had to be confident and keep shooting.Strautmane was a new player in the second half. The 6-foot-2 forward drilled four of five 3-point attempts in the second half and ended as the Orange’s leading scorer with 17 points. Several of her threes came from the corners, where she would peel off the low block and take the space the Hawks were giving her. In each of her second-half attempts, Strautmane didn’t hesitate — she just let it fly.“I want to be more consistent,” Strautmane said. “… I have to grow out of it, I have to be more efficient. Coach told me to shoot, so I was just shooting.”By the end of the third quarter, Syracuse held a 17-point lead and had started shooting threes on the majority of its possessions. The Orange’s ball movement improved in the second half, Cooper said, which gave them more open looks. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, who attempted three 3-pointers and made none last season, even tacked on one of her own. SU had its best 3-point shooting quarter in the fourth, making four of its nine attempts (44.4%). Hillsman noted that Syracuse’s abundance of 3-point attempts were due to the space Maryland Eastern Shore was allowing. Engstler noticed the Hawks were giving her “10 feet” of space to start the game, which allowed her to knock down the first of SU’s 14 made threes. The Orange won’t rely on the 3-ball in every game this season, but when they have to, they have the pieces to do it.“If we have the ball open on the three-point line, we are shooting it every time,” Engstler said. Comments Published on November 12, 2019 at 11:52 pm Contact David: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more