[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady 2-27-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-02; amended in its entirety 3-26-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-03. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The City of Schenectady recognizes the negative effects vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties have on the social and economic vitality of communities, surrounding properties, and neighborhoods in general. It further recognizes that the existence of the vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties forces a municipality to absorb the financial losses related to unpaid school, county and City taxes as well as the increased costs of fire and police responses to these areas. It is the intent of this legislation to provide proactive tools to mitigate costs, spur investment and improve property values within the land bank area. The resulting decreases in delinquent taxes and emergency response costs will benefit the City financially as well as improve quality of life of residents in those areas where abandonment is successfully reversed.
It is the further intent of this legislation to provide a tool to other municipal entities in the Capital Region of the State of New York (said region being comprised of the Counties of Schenectady, Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schoharie), allowing them to become a member of the Land Reutilization Corporation of the Capital Region and benefit from the anticipated economies of scale for planned activities.
For the purpose of this chapter, certain terms, words and phrases are herein defined.
Word usage. In the interpretation of this chapter, the provisions and rules of this subsection shall be observed and applied, except where the context clearly requires otherwise. Words used or defined in one tense or form shall include other tenses. Words in the singular number shall include the plural. The word "shall" is mandatory and not discretionary. The word "may" is permissive or discretionary.
Words defined. When used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings herein ascribed to them:
- BOARD OF DIRECTORS or BOARD
- The Board of Directors of a land bank.
- FORECLOSING GOVERNMENTAL UNIT
- "Tax district" as defined in Subdivision 6 of § 1102 of the Real Property Tax Law.
- LAND BANK
- A land bank established as a Type C not-for-profit corporation under this chapter and in accordance with the provisions of New York State Not-For-Profit Law Article 16.
- LAND REUTILIZATION CORPORATION OF THE CAPITAL REGION
- The land reutilization corporation organized and incorporated in Schenectady County, New York, and shall be used interchangeably herein with "Land Bank."
- A city, village, town or county.
- REAL PROPERTY
- Lands, lands under water, structures and any and all easements, air rights, franchises and incorporeal hereditaments and every estate and right therein, legal and equitable, including terms for years and liens by way of judgment, mortgage or otherwise, and any and all fixtures and improvements located thereon.
- SCHOOL DISTRICT
- A school district as defined under the Education Law.
The number of members of the Board of Directors, which shall consist of an odd number of members, shall be not less than five members nor more than 11 members:
Upon entry into the Land Bank by additional foreclosing entities, the Board of Directors shall be reconstituted as agreed by and between current members and the potential new member(s), with the final methodology for selection of Board members to be memorialized in the Land Bank bylaws.
Members shall serve three-year terms. All appointments shall be for three-year terms with the exception of the first Board appointed. The first appointment by the Mayor of Schenectady shall be for a term of two years. The first Schenectady City Council appointments shall be for terms of one year and two years. Initial appointments from other participating foreclosing governmental units will be for terms of one and three years or as otherwise agreed.
In the event that a vacancy occurs, the replacement will be appointed by the entity that originally filled that position. If the replacement is for an unexpired term, the replacement shall be for the remainder of the term.
Board members will have at least one of the following qualifications in addition to being a resident of the appointing foreclosing entity:
Appointments to the Board will be made by resolution of the appointing foreclosing governmental unit.
In the event that a land bank is created pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement in accordance with § 1603 of the New York State Not-For-Profit Law, such intergovernmental cooperation agreement shall specify matters identified in Subdivision (a) of § 1603 of New York State Not-For-Profit Law; provided, however, that each foreclosing governmental unit shall have at least one appointment to the Board.
Any public officer shall be eligible to serve as a Board member, and the acceptance of the appointment shall neither terminate nor impair such public office. For purposes of this section, "public officer" shall mean a person who is elected to a municipal office. Any municipal employee or appointed officer shall be eligible to serve as a Board member.
The members of the Board of Directors shall select annually, from among themselves, a Chairman, a Vice Chairman, a Treasurer, and such other officers as the Board may determine and shall establish their duties as may be regulated by rules adopted by the Board.
The Board shall establish rules and requirements relative to the attendance and participation of members in its meetings, regular or special. Such rules and regulations may prescribe a procedure whereby, should any member fail to comply with such rules and regulations, such member may be disqualified and removed automatically from office by no less than a majority vote of the remaining members of the Board, and that member's position shall be vacant as of the first day of the next calendar month. Any person removed under the provisions of this subsection shall be ineligible for reappointment to the Board, unless such reappointment is confirmed unanimously by the Board.
A vacancy on the Board shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.
Board members shall serve without compensation, shall have the power to organize and reorganize the executive, administrative, clerical, and other departments of the land bank and to fix the duties, powers, and compensation of all employees, agents, and consultants of the land bank. The Board may reimburse any member for expenses actually incurred in the performance of duties on behalf of the Land Bank.
The Board shall meet in regular session according to a schedule adopted by the Board and also shall meet in special session as convened by the Chairman or upon written notice signed by a majority of the members.
A majority of the members of the Board, not including vacancies, shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business. All actions of the Board shall be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Board present and voting; provided, however, that no action of the Board shall be authorized on the following matters unless approved by a majority of the total Board membership:
Adoption of bylaws and other rules and regulations for conduct of the Land Bank's business;
Hiring or firing of any employee or contractor of the Land Bank. This function may, by majority vote of the total Board membership, be delegated to a specified officer or committee of the Land Bank, under such terms and conditions, and to the extent, that the Board may specify;
The incurring of debt;
Adoption or amendment of the annual budget; and
Sale, lease, encumbrance, or alienation of real property, improvements, or personal property.
Members of the Board shall not be liable personally on the bonds or other obligations of the Land Bank, and the rights of creditors shall be solely against such Land Bank.
Vote by proxy shall not be permitted. Any member may request a recorded vote on any resolution or action of the Land Bank.
Each director, officer and employee shall be a state officer or employee for the purposes of §§ 73 and 74 of the Public Officers Law.
The Land Bank shall file its Articles of Incorporation, as attached, with the Secretary of State in accordance with the procedures set forth in the New York State Not-For-Profit Corporation Law Article 16.
Editor's Note: Said Articles of Incorporation are on file in the City offices.
The Land Bank may employ a secretary, an executive director, its own counsel and legal staff, and such technical experts and such other agents and employees, permanent or temporary, as it may require and may determine the qualifications and fix the compensation and benefits of such persons. The Land Bank may also enter into contracts and agreements with municipalities for staffing services to be provided to the Land Bank by municipalities or agencies or departments thereof or for the Land Bank to provide such staffing services to municipalities or agencies or departments thereof.
The Land Bank created hereunder shall possess all authority and powers as specified in Article 16 of the New York State Not-For-Profit Corporation Law.
Each foreclosing governmental unit shall have its own Disposition Advisory Committee or Committees that shall develop disposition policies and procedures for the Land Bank for those properties received from the respective foreclosing governmental unit. Requirements for membership on a Committee will be set forth in the bylaws.
Property Disposition Committee governance shall be set up by the Land Bank bylaws. Revenue generated from sale of property will be credited to the Property Disposition Account of the foreclosing governmental unit in which the property lies, except as prorated for shared Land Bank costs.