What does conversion of the Land Bank Authority mean? @ ESPLOST VLCLBA 2015-02-25

What does “conversion of the Land Bank Authority” mean? What are they converting this Authority to? Or do they mean the Authority is voting on converting some real estate from non-taxable to taxable?

Valdosta News, City of Valdosta, 23 February 2015, In The City This Week, Feb. 23-28,

Feb. 25: Land Bank Authority Meets. Members of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Land Bank Authority will hold a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 9 a.m., in the Neighborhood Development Conference Room (Room 202, Valdosta City Hall Annex). This meeting is being held to vote on the conversion of the Land Bank Authority. The Land Bank Authority exists to foster the public purpose of returning property which is in a non-revenue generating, non-tax producing status to effective utilization status in order to provide housing, new industry and jobs for citizens. For information, call (229) 671-3617.

Even the state doesn’t have up to date information about this board. According to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs 2015 Directory of Registered Local Government Authorities,

Creation Date: 6/24/1999
Method of Creation: General Statute
Official Citation: O.C.G.A. 48-4-61
Dependency: Independent
Single or Multi Jurisdictional: Multi-Jurisdictional
Members: Lowndes County
City of Valdosta
Mara S. Register, Assistant to the City Manager
Post Office Box 1125
300 N. Lee Street
Valdosta, Georgia   31603
Board Members:
Burke Sherwood, Frank Morman, Robert Yost, Joyce Evans

Mara Register left Valdosta in 2013 to work in Athens at the Carl Vinson Institute.

Lowndes County’s new website does have a page on VLCLBA, which lists the same board members, saying Sherwood and Yost were appointed by the City of Valdosta, Evans and Morman were appointed by Lowndes County, and all their terms expire 31 January 2016. Plus this:

The Land Bank Authority catalogs properties have been abandoned, donated or otherwise acquired and makes them available for development. Members are appointed by both Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta to four year terms. This authority meets as needed. For more information, contact the Office of the County Clerk, 229-671-2400 or asmith@lowndescounty.com.

Here’s a writeup that may or may not reflect the philosophy of this particular land bank. Center for Community Progress, unknown date, retrieved 24 February 2015, Land Banking 101: What is a Land Bank?

…give communities the opportunity to repurpose abandoned properties in a manner consistent with the communities’ values and needs—demolishing unsalvageable homes and creating open green space or a community garden, restoring interesting buildings, or simply holding land in careful stewardship until a new purpose can be determined.

Land banks treat properties as real estate, not as a disposable commodity that, once used, not longer has a meaningful purpose.

The same organization also has a set of web pages including Frequently Asked Questions on Land Banking,

Based upon our research, as of 2014, we estimate there are approximately 120 land banks and land banking programs throughout the country. The states of Michigan, Ohio and Georgia currently have the greatest number of active land banks. For a national inventory of land banks and land banking programs, check out our new Land Bank HQ Interactive Map.

That map has a link to the City of Valdosta’s web page, Land Bank Authority,

There is hereby established the Valdosta-Lowndes County Land Bank Authority pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 48-4-60, et seq., the establishment of which is to foster the public purpose of returning property which is in a non-revenue generating, non-tax producing status to effective utilization status in order to provide housing, new industry and jobs for citizens. The authority is comprised of four members with two appointed by the city and two appointed by the county. One of the city appointees must be a City Council member and one of the county appointees must be a County Commissioner. The authority shall meet from time to time, at least annually, and the presence of three members shall constitute a quorum.

That page has links to Land Bank Authority Minutes for 2012 and 2013, but none for 2014. Seems as if nobody has updated them after Mara Register left.