Thousands of vacant Dayton lots available

Anyone can pay for lots made empty through demolition program.

DAYTON — Thousands of vacant lots are available to homeowners who want more land or to anyone who wants to make their neighborhoods more appealing.

For about $1,200 in fees, you can apply to own empty lots popping up throughout the city as demolition crews work to raze some of the 15,000 vacant or abandoned buildings, said Aaron Sorrell, Housing and Neighborhood Development manager.

“Lot Links,” the program started by former Mayor Rhine McLin, is to combat the number of unused, overgrown lots in the city and the decline in the city’s property tax revenue.

Interested owners must apply to the city. Call (937) 333-3670.

Sorrell said the acquisition process takes about 18 months. The city is working with the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office to speed things along. There are about 300 applications that the city is processing right now, he said, and the city reviews each one.

The city has more than 2,000 nuisance buildings it plans to demolish to eradicate neighborhood blight and right-size the housing stock. Unloading property would also help curtail the $400,000 the city spends to mow the more than 4,000 vacant lots once each year.

General fund budget in the red

In other business from the Wednesday, June 23, City Commission meeting, the general fund projection is still $6 million short of the original $155 million budgeted for this year. Blame the majority of the shortfall on declining income and property tax revenues.

City Manager Tim Riordan has attended more than a dozen community meetings to hear what residents want to do about the budget woes. A potential income tax hike has been the hottest topic. Raising the city’s income tax of 2.25 percent another 0.25 percent would generate about $10 million, he said.

Voters would have to approve any income tax hike. There has been no talk publicly as to when an issue could be put on the ballot.

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