Newburgh Featured on Center for Community Progress

Many people are quite excited about the new land banks that have been instituted in New York State. Across the map land banks have been able to focus on rehabilitating and acquiring abandoned and vacant properties that municipalities do not have the power to manage. Newburgh’s own land bank has had such success with a red brick apartment building on Lander and an old church on Grand Street.

Newburgh’s own land bank director, Madeline Fletcher was featured by Center for Community Progress. She mentions the challenge land banks face in the future is to become sustainable and finding funding for day to day operations.

For more information regarding accomplishments and challenges land banks in NY face, read the following article: Two and a half years in, land banking takes shape in New York State

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10 Comment

  • Duh! Finding funding for yet another non-profit paying no taxes, yet paying redundant salaries to people who are doing jobs that people in City Hall are paid for will be tough? Thankfully! This thing has barely gotten started, they’ve already wasted tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars and they’re concerned about future funding. Ms. Fletcher talks about sustainability when there’s been no effort on the Land Bank’s part to understand the fundamental problem with extraordinarily high taxes in an extraordinarily financially unstable city. Is this a joke?

  • So the Land Banks are not self-sustainable, what a shock, despite of a deal that would would make BlackRock blush. Who would have thought that managing a portfolio of derelict real estate requires finite resources? Another socialist experiment meets an economy that’s driven by capital. Cue the taxpayer in 5,4,3… .

  • OK. I am constantly PRing City of Newburgh Land Bank properties to esp young people looking to settle into a new place that they can own. Today just heard from such a person I was recruiting to purchase a property from the Land Bank that the minutes on the site had not been updated since last August. This family is relocating from California to the NYC area and anxious to find a new affordable community and place where they can set up their home. Perhaps they will rent for a few months while getting settled but they are trying to evaluate different possibilities based upon online info.

    Don’t know if this is true but serious lack of awareness about online presence. If it is not online today, it is not happening. Info must be current and updated for the public esp for new people looking to move in, invest in renovating and making a home for themselves and their families. Info must be up and searchable or at least linked. How hard is it to get the photos up? People do this for fun every day on blogs so it isn’t that hard to do as paid employment.

    Also–one suggestion–if Land Banks really want to be sustainable–they need to be low cost entities. I don’t understand the need for Land Bank offices–you are selling real estate–just set up in one of the properties. The money is better spent to fix up one of the for sale places than paying rent. Virtual offices are best as they cost ZERO and they are 24/7. Also there is a complete lack of info up regarding the process of financing the projects and what the process entails with the building dept and code enforcement, tax collection. Without financing info for buyers who want to do this work, you severely limit the number of people who can manage to piece the puzzle together. One or two examples of how the financing and taxes work would be great–and a resource list of the financing sources and the contractors and architects in Newburgh or who work in Newburgh is necessary.
    It should all be transparent and completely up on the internet for all to see! Right Now.

  • So true! Unfortunately it seems that the city of Newburgh (govt and most citizens) like the socialist experiments. Land Banks, grants to fix sidewalks, grants to put up signs etc. I wonder who they think pays for this stuff ultimately.

  • Having the people at the land bank receive properties, prepare them for sale, and evaluate appropriate owners is an effective part of the solution to vacant properties. There have already been a few small successes in the last year, which is more than can be said for the city…so, what is wrong with an alternative run by trained professionals.
    I would much rather see my tax dollars spent on an entity that gets results.

    As far as the grants for sidewalks and signs, well, at least it is OUR sidewalks and signs getting fixed with the dollars.

  • I would agree with posts from Michael G. and Walter IF I could trust the gov’t of the City of Newburgh to do something about the deterioration of Newburgh. As a property owner who lives right next door to a building that is in danger of collapsing, I wonder where else – but the Land Bank – I can turn to get results. I mean no buyer in their right mind would buy this propeerty, spend at least $250k to rehab it, for it to be worth about $120k once it’s done. No bank would finance such a project and those that have cash are absentee landlords that are part of the problem – not the solution. On top of all that, the City would welcome these hypothetical poor saps with $5k/year taxes. Where’s the incentive to buy this property? If the Land Bank doesn’t get their hands on it, what can reasonably be expected? I’m open to other solutions, but where are they?

    • What could the Land Bank possibly do differently to make those numbers work? Nothing. This is a tax and building code problem, not a real estate transaction problem. I’ve talked to several people who bought a few years back, have invested in their buildings and are already looking to leave from the increase in taxes in those few short years. Where are the efforts to keep people here? The Land Bank is a band aid that will rot and fall off the moment full taxes are assessed on these properties. Those of us who were here before 2005 fought against the reval that resulted in many property taxes doubling in the most vulnerable parts of the city. The codes problems have always been an issue and will continue to be unless they are addressed head on. We have a fire chief who has admitted that they are wasting time and money by giving out tickets for such trivial violations as vegetation height. A new organization with some temporary grants is not going to change a thing unless these foundational issues are addressed. Sure it’s going to be hard work and is going to be a lot more challenging than spending some grant money on the salaries of some arms-length professionals. The real solutions are in our hands not some third party’s. If you don’t trust the government, change it. This is supposed to be a democracy, no?

      • Michael G said “This is a tax and building code problem, not a real estate transaction problem. “. I agree. The Land Bank with all the good intentions of Ms Fletcher and others, doesn’t work in my view because it does nothing about the demand side of the problem. There is little to no demand from primary homeowners for high tax property in an area with significant crime and a poor school system.

        On the 2 Courtney Street topic a person who apparently visited on a bus tour stated they declined Newburgh because of the high taxes. Economics dictate that decision.

        The only folks who can make this work are investors who can rent to cover the taxes, deal with the draconian laws, and may receive a small cash flow, if any, for doing so. Unfortunately they are all painted with a broad brush and viewed as a problem. Well, when they leave (which many are looking to do already) the high taxes will become more prohibitive to owning in the city of Newburgh.

  • Knowing the criticism the Land Bank gets I applaud Madeline for putting her actual face out there to the critics. It’s the main reason for posting this video.