I favor city's purchase of blighted property

To the Editor:

In a letter to the ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion, my colleague, Ron Lykins, indicates he has not met anyone who favors buying private properties with (city of Westerville) tax dollars. Here's one. The property in question is, as anyone who has lived here for any length of time can attest, an eyesore, a blight on the community, and a haven for criminal and other objectionable activity, including failing to pay its property taxes.

Mr. Lykins comments, "If the city has an extra $300,000, why not use the money to help finance our public schools and/or reduce our property taxes?" Part of the city's plan indeed is to benefit the schools by getting at least a portion of these delinquent taxes back to them.

The city also is partnering with other public entities to provide resources to assist with demolition and clean-up of this eyesore. These types of activities are fairly routine and represent a normal function of government reaching back many decades.

The objective of the city taking back this property -- at a value established not by the owners but by an independent receiver -- is to help it get back to productive use in the private sector where it can again contribute to the economic health and vitality of this commercial area and entire community. As a resident of many years living near the south corridor, yes, I fully support using tax dollars for such an activity and welcome what I expect will be a vast improvement for this area.

L. Michael Howard, CPA