Clayton County Land Bank sign

by Robin Kemp

The Clayton County Board of Commissioners meets Tuesday, Oct. 20 to consider a resolution that would allow each city to appoint a member to the county Land Bank.

Under state law, the county can join forces with at least one city to set up a land bank, which takes over properties that fall behind on taxes (“and other properties”), then sell or otherwise turn those delinquent properties back into sources of tax or revenue generation.

Forest Park and College Park already have signed onto the county land bank idea. Forest Park was first in 2014, with College Park following soon after. Now, the county wants to add the cities of Morrow, Lake City, Lovejoy, Riverdale, and Jonesboro.

To do that, the BOC will add one seat for each municipality to appoint, along with one appointed seat from each of the four commission districts.

However, each appointee has to have certain qualifications:

  • Shall be a resident of the city
  • May be a city employee
  • Shall have “at least five (5) years of experience or education in urban planning, community development, real estate, law, finance, or related areas”
  • Serve “at the pleasure of the appointing party”
  • Serve without compensation

Here’s how the terms would be staggered:

2022: Latrice Mitchell and Rodney Tookes (Clayton County), Forest Park, Lovejoy, Riverdale, Lake City

2023: Morrow, College Park

2024: Latrevia Kates and one open seat (Clayton County), Jonesboro

The county appointees’ terms end on April 15, while the city appointees’ terms end on April 21.

The County Land Bank Board’s present members, some of whom will not be on the new Land Bank (if the ordinance passes) include:

  • COLLEGE PARK: Artie Jones, Terrance Moore
  • FOREST PARK: Steve Bernard
  • CLAYTON COUNTY: Latrevia Kates, Latrice Mitchell, Rodney Tookes
  • JONESBORO: Anne Wise, David Allen
  • MORROW: Marti Tracy

Jones is College Park’s director of economic development, while Moore is College Park’s city manager. Bernard is cofounder of The Jasber Group, which handles utility sub-metering for apartments and other multifamily units and has planted a flag in downtown Forest Park with Jasber Plaza. Bernard is also CEO and CFO of TPI Construction and Development Group. Kates is a criminal defense attorney. Mitchell and Tookes are real estate agents. Wise is retired from the Tax Commissioner’s office and, along with her husband, Jonesboro Councilman Ed Wise, owns Sirens in Cities, which sells emergency sirens to local governments. Allen is Jonesboro’s community development director and zoning administrator. Tracy handles Morrow’s permits and code enforcement.

Clayton County’s Land Bank webpage has not posted minutes of any meetings since March 26, 2019.

However, you can see the properties in the county’s inventory, which at press time had a combined fair market value of $3,803,054. We’ve created a sortable, searchable version of the Land Bank’s published inventory. Try sorting the fair market values from lowest to highest. You’ll find many properties with assessed values in the single digits and low starting bids:

You also can copy a parcel number from the above list and run it through the Clayton County Tax Assessor’s Real Property Records Search to learn more about the property. Scroll down to “Identification No./Parcel No.” and enter the parcel number in the box provided:

https://www.claytoncountyga.gov/government/tax-assessor/property-search-information/real-property-records-search

If you want to look up a corporation listed as the owner to see if it’s registered in Georgia, visit the Secretary of State’s Business Search and enter the company’s or officer’s name:

https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/BusinessSearch

Find anything interesting? Let us know!

The Board of Commissioners meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight at 112 Smith Street in Jonesboro.

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