Time Is Money
Is the Saint Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) backsliding? About a year ago, former Show-Me Institute Policy Analyst Audrey Spalding attended an LRA meeting in which the Board of Commissioners did not reject a single offer to purchase property. Much to my dismay, in Wednesday’s LRA meeting, the board accepted a measly five out of 23 offers.
Cassandra Griffin pleaded with the board to let her buy a small lot right next to her house. She has been maintaining the lot for years because the owner neglected the property and Griffin wanted the neighborhood to look nice. She continued maintaining the lot when the LRA acquired it earlier this year. Her offer was lower than the city’s estimated value of $1,454 — but she explained that she has already spent close to $4,000 on upkeep.
The LRA should be happy to give this small plot of land to a woman who is proud of her neighborhood and wants to keep it in good shape. Instead, one of the board members remarked that the LRA has only owned this property for about a year, and it is big enough to build on so someone else might want to buy it. Is that a good reason to turn down a buyer?
Here is a picture of Griffin’s home and the empty lot she wants to purchase (from Google Maps):
The LRA’s mission is to put abandoned, tax-delinquent properties back into productive use. No one else has attempted to purchase this property. How long is the LRA going to hold onto it? If Griffin stopped maintaining the property, the city would spend taxpayer dollars on upkeep when they could let her own the property now, maintain it herself, and pay taxes on that land. The city could wait years before someone comes along who wants to build on this property (more likely, they may never come). Time is money.