The St. Joseph City Council voted Monday to abate penalties so the Land Bank could acquire the properties.

The St. Joseph City Council helped the Land Bank move forward with redeveloping blighted buildings after voting to abate administrative penalties on four properties during their meeting Monday.

The properties accumulated fines for being unkempt and having dilapidated structures. Council abated nearly $20,000. This allows the Land Bank to acquire the property and market it for redevelopment.

There were five total properties on the agenda, but one of the owners didn’t complete the necessary paperwork, so that vote was postponed.

These properties will be the first acquisitions the Land Bank has made since it was formed about two years ago. The organization was created to address blight and decay by buying dilapidated structures and finding people to rehab them.

“That’s what other cities are doing too, going into some of their neighborhoods and really can fix it up,” said City Councilwoman Brenda Blessing. “Some need a lot, some may need not as much, but I think it’s a good idea. We’re a little behind getting things started, but it was a great legislation that we had to pass. It’s going to be nothing but future growth for St. Joe.”

Earlier on Monday, the Land Bank Board voted to move forward with the acquisition of the same properties the council waived the fines for — 1213 Isadore Street, 5908 Lockout Street, 1201 Corby Street and 204 N. 17th Street.

The next step for the Land Bank is to gain the titles of these properties.

Other notable bills and resolutions that passed:

Police cars

The council approved $122,655 for five new, unmarked Chevrolet Equinox vehicles for the police department.

Fire department mobile radios

An application will be filed with the Department of Homeland Security for a $570,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant for mobile radios. The city will be obligated to provide $51,818.18 as part of the grant.

Sewer credit

The council approved $89,932.72 of sewer credit to Countryside Mobile Home Estates for estimated amounts that were billed, although the discharge did not enter the sewer system.

CDBG and HOME Program funds

The city will submit the Second Year Annual Plan for the use of fiscal year 2022 Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program funds.

CAP in Horace Mann

The council authorized the execution of a lease agreement with the Community Action Partnership of Greater St. Joseph for space in the Horace Mann Community Center.

Pets for the elderly

The council accepted a $15,000 grant from the Pets for the Elderly Foundation to be used to discount animal adoptions for senior citizens.

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