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020414 js 0450rSPRINGFIELD – As the foreclosure crisis spread over the last few years, the unincorporated areas outside of cities and towns became home to more and more abandoned properties.  Businesses closed their doors and warehouses, storage facilities and industrial buildings were deserted.

This week, Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) began to move legislation that would give Lake County the ability to collect the cost of bulldozing or refurbishing an abandoned property when that property is eventually sold.

 “Cities and towns have always been awarded this right, but counties have not,” Senator Bush said.  “This plan simply gives counties the same ability to reclaim the funds that they’ve previously invested in keeping citizens safe from dilapidated properties.”

There has been more than one instance in Lake County where abandoned buildings have fallen into such a degree of disrepair that they needed to be torn down as a safety precaution. 

Unfortunately, under the current law there is a disincentive for counties to maintain safety standards because they are not reimbursed for doing so. Senator Bush’s proposal, which passed unanimously out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last Tuesday, suggests that when a tax sale is made, the buyer must pay back the demolition or rehabilitation costs incurred by the county in the interest of public safety.

“To continue on a path of economic recovery, we should not be making it more difficult for counties to perform community upkeep and maintain public safety standards,” Bush said.

The bill is Senate Bill 2677.

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