The board of directors of the Highland County Land Reutilization Corporation, informally known as the Land Bank, met in special session Thursday in the basement of the Highland County Administration Bldg.
During the brief Thursday morning meeting, the board approved a resolution that will permit Land Bank Vice-Chair Charlie Guarino and board member and Highland County commissioner Terry Britton to sign any deeds of conveyance along with county commissioner Jeff Duncan, who is the Land Bank’s chairman and president.
Duncan and board member Randy Mustard joined the meeting remotely via speakerphone, while board members Britton, Guarino and Karen Bridges attended the meeting in person along with Highland County Community Action Housing Director Mark Current.
Current told The Times-Gazette that the Land Bank is in the process of selling their first properties and buyers are wanting to close on their real estate purchases.
The properties, which Current said are scheduled for closing next week, are three locations at Rocky Fork Lake — two parcels are at 11465 and 11472 Dundee Dr., and another two parcels are at 10711 Venetian Way. A fifth parcel at 11540 Dundee Dr. was awaiting a signature on transfer documentation.
Optimism about acquiring three other vacant or abandoned properties was tempered somewhat following the land banks’ July meeting, as Current detailed what had surfaced during a preliminary title search.
An abandoned property owned by William and Nichole Dayton at 6774 Heathermoor Trail was shown to have back taxes that totaled $13,792.52 and a mortgage in the principal amount of $33,497.
Another abandoned property at 11410 Cathys Court, owned by Carl Sanders, had $27,746.03 in back taxes in addition to a mortgage in the principal amount of $166,500.
A third property that Current said was highly desirable due to its corner location at the intersection of two highways, and proximity to the new construction of the Hillsboro headquarters of South Central Power Co., was the abandoned Rocky Fork Truck Stop.
However, Current said a title search revealed that the Rockhold, Brown & Company Bank held a mortgage on it in the principal amount of $450,000.
“We can only deal with property taxes,” Current said, “so we’ve had to put the brakes on it, but sometimes you can ask a mortgage holder, and sometimes they’ll release a mortgage or a lien, but two of those properties have a pretty healthy mortgage on them.”
Mustard recommended the board reach out to the mortgage companies regarding the properties, with Guarino suggesting that pictures be submitted along with any release request so the mortgage holder can see the present state of their properties.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Guarino said.
Current said that on occasion, financial institutions would sometimes release a mortgage when they saw the amount of tax debt, and that the debt could be lifted so the property could be moved on.
Bridges had some good news prior to the meeting adjourning, informing the board that the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, had taken over three parcels in Greenfield and was anxious to, in her words, “wipe their hands of them.”
The next regular meeting of the land bank will be Thursday, Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. in the large basement room of the Highland County Administration Building.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.