Although I’ve lived in Albany most of my life, I have taken an interest in the politics of the other places that I called short term home. Only here in Albany have I ever witnessed the wheels of government turn so slow. Last Thursday the Albany Planning Committee met with just two things on the agenda, one of them being the matter of an Albany County Landbank. If you read my blogs on this issue, you know my stance. If not, I’ll repeat it. A LANDBANK SYSTEM WILL NOT WORK IN ALBANY COUNTY. Although the county is trumpeting the cause, it so happens than most of the properties in question — they say 809, but who really knows — lie within the city limits. So if the county is in control of the funding, exactly how does the process work? At the county auction yesterday they raked in over $500K in the sale of delinquent properties. From the listing of the properties sold, it’s apparent that there are some serious new owners of property that will probably result in some rehab. But what about the other properties sold for $1000, or $2000 dollars. Is the county ready to review plans for these properties in order for them to get funded under the landbank? Who will inevitably decide who gets funded? Does an individual have to purchase the property, then propose it’s intent. What happens — and this could definitely happen — if two people are interested in the same property? What do you think is going to become of a property sold for $1000. That’s right people, it’s going to fall to the wrecking ball. That will not sit to well with organizations like Historic Albany and it’s Chief Engineer Susan Holland. When did organizations like that get so much power in this city? I agree that there is a lot of history is our town, but when it comes to some of these properties, they’re too unsafe even to do a walk through, never mind a rehab. When is everyone going to understand that? I wonder just how many of the buyers at the auction actually did a complete inspection of the property. Not a pry open the plywood panels on the front door and declare, “yep, there is a way to get upstairs”, but have an engineer do a look around to see if it is even feasible to rehab. The engineer could even give you some kind of ballpark number on what it would take to fix. I’ll bet that a lot of the buyers didn’t do anything close to that. There is also the matter of back taxes, and unpaid water bills, etc., etc. I am under the understanding that something has to be done about this matter by the end of November.
And that is “The Daily Take”