October 1, 2000
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
One of the primary tasks for a community development corporation or local government seeking to enhance community revitalization efforts is to focus on those parcels of land that have been creating the greatest amount of harm to a community, and to realize that these same parcels likely contain keys that can become tools in the development process. Delinquent tax liens and government owned land are public assets waiting to be renewed in the process of community development. This article is designed to provide a basic overview of the form and substance of these two public assets, which are central to community development. The first three parts describe the typical structure of property tax liens, property tax foreclosure procedures, and categories of publicly owned land. The second three parts offer suggestions to improve the effectiveness of existing laws, or to create new governmental entities that will facilitate the process of renewing these public assets. As there is tremendous divergence throughout the United States in the laws of each specific city or county, this article is not intended to be a description of the laws of any particular community. Instead, this article is designed to permit community development organizations and local government officials to understand the relevant basic concepts and to enable them to analyze and reform the applicable laws of their cities and counties.