WARREN - Assuming the Ohio Attorney General's Office isn't going to budge on a dollar-for-dollar match requirement for communities to get some of the $75 million it has to tear down abandoned and vacant homes, and knowing the money doesn't exist locally for the match, county officials have an alternative in mind.
That alternative is to issue a $1 million bond that would be used to leverage more demolition dollars from the state and pay off the new debt using a portion of the penalty fees charged to delinquent property tax payments.
It's an alternative Sam Lamancusa, county treasurer and president of the county's land bank board, would like the board to act on if assumptions come true.
''All of this is pending on the belief that the attorney general is going to mandate, in most of our opinions, the way we are going to receive money from the attorney general is dollar for dollar,'' he said.
If it happens, Trumbull County could be getting $2 million for demolitions, not counting what other communities do.
County treasurers may charge up to a 10 percent penalty for late property tax payment. Of that, 5 percent is split evenly between the county treasurer's and prosecutor's offices to enforce delinquent tax collections. Another 2.5 percent is being used to fund the county's land bank.
The remaining 2.5 percent - about $225,000 a year - would be used to pay on the bond debt over about five years, Lamancusa said.
It's money that was set aside for the land bank but never used.
The money DeWine has is part of Ohio's share from a court settlement with the nation's largest mortgage servicers over foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable mortgage practices.
Rules to pass out the money are being created by DeWine now. Local officials plan to attend a meeting Wednesday in Columbus, where they expect to learn more about program rules and grant administration.
Simultaneous to the bond proposal, several communities have pledged money toward the grant application.
About $94,000 had been committed among Brookfield, Warren Township, Newton Falls, Girard, McDonald, Hubbard Township, Hubbard and Weathersfield, said Julie Green, planning commission grants coordinator.
Friday was a preliminary deadline to indicate an interest to participate. Not set in stone, it was more of a way to ''see what sort of participation to expect and who to include in our strategic plan,'' Green said.
If the bond proposal is successful, Lamancusa said he would like to see the money pledged by communities rolled into the large pot of money.