So in Pat's own words, he appears to be using Jackson as a test bed for his theory that demolishing abandoned and blighted structures will increase property values. This may be true in Detroit where islands of "normalcy" occupy vast areas of burned, abandoned and collapsed homes where it is near impossible to deliver necessary city services. Taking down a property that no one will buy for $1 is not the same as concocting a program to make rehabilitation beyond the reach of the average working class Jackson resident through inaccurate and inflated rehabilitation cost estimates. As is easy to see, the "increasing property values" charade is not working and the real reason is obvious. Drive out low and moderate income residents by eliminating affordable housing thus enhancing the prospects for development of the downtown core. Those low to moderate income residents occupied rental properties whose upkeep and maintenance kept local businesses afloat as did the commerce resulting from that population.
JACKSON, MI September 9, 2012 - Jackson County Treasurer Karen Coffman was preparing to sell two tax-foreclosed houses on W. Morrell Street to try to recoup unpaid taxes. Then the city of Jackson demolished the decaying houses in the last week of August as part of a city program to stabilize neighborhoods by removing blight.
Coffman is unhappy with the city, saying the demolitions make it difficult for her to sell what is now vacant property.
Burtch and Coffman agree the city needs to demolish the scores of vacant and decaying houses in Jackson to revitalize surrounding neighborhoods. But they differ on whether houses due for tax sales should be removed. "I'm absolutely very supportive of removing blighted structures, and ... we have an overabundance of (housing) inventory," Coffman said. "And the longer these houses sit vacant without bodies or people in them, it contributes to the degradation of not only our property values, but they become targets for arson, for drug activity, for criminal activity. Where I come in conflict is when it's impacting the dollars I'm trying to get back for the delinquent tax revolving fund."
The county has incurred $4,500 in costs associated with the property at 301 W. Morrell St., including the amount of the unpaid taxes, interest and other costs, and $4,100 associated with the one at 303 W. Morrell St., Coffman said. No one bought the properties at an earlier auction. The now-vacant Morrell Street properties are still available at the upcoming auction. The minimum bid on each property is $100.