A small, but vocal group of you reminded us that a key policy priority for your community remains addressing abandoned and dilapidated properties. Here at the Hub, our statewide perspective gives us the benefit of seeing what issues connect communities, and what problems persistently discourage community development no matter how the local economy is doing.
Dilapidated properties is one of those issues. It affects Morgantown and Matewan, Wheeling and Welch. No matter where you are in West Virginia, this is an issue your community is facing.
We’re closely following a bill that would help dilapidated properties and would – critically – provide funding to remove those local blights.
HB 2810, the West Virginia Property Rescue Initiative bill, is a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Kanawha County delegates (Nancy Guthrie, Mike Pushkin, Andrew Byrd, Larry Rowe, John McCuskey, Brad White, Chris Stansbury and Ron Walters). This bill works with the WV Housing Development Fund to create a revolving loan program for the removal of dilapidated properties by municipalities and counties. Of particular interest to communities is that the Fund has the authority, through this legislation, to potentially make no- and low-interest loans.
The Property Rescue Initiative also would have the Housing Development Fund provide technical assistance to communities, partnering with other groups around the state that provide similar assistance.
The Housing Development Fund currently runs a property demolition program that serves as a useful resource for communities seeking to demolish problem properties. HB 2810 would further build on that program and assist the Fund in providing communities with a comprehensive support for addressing problem properties through loans and technical assistance.
While this bill moved quickly through the House of Delegates and passed with 92 yays and only a single nay (Del. Terry Waxman), it has been referenced to the Senate Finance Committee and has not yet been put on the agenda. It’s got very little time left to make its way to the top of the 100+ bills that are pending in that committee.
Do you support this bill and want to see it passed this year?
You can help by telling the Senate Finance Chair and Vice-Chair that you’d like this bill placed on the committee’s agenda and that you want the bill to stay as is with no amendments. The Chairman is Senator Mike Hall (304-357-7901) and the Vice-Chairman is Senator Chris Walters (304-357-7866).
Let them know if you want another tool for communities to address problem properties.