City blighted property resale plan laudable, but needs finetuning

The City of Williamsport would like to reduce the number of blighted properties to six. Then it would like to purchase them and sell them back to developers, who would turn them into productive properties again.

If the city can pull it off, it’s a laudable goal.

But there is a catch, a big one, namely the approximately $120,000 cost to taxpayers for the purchase.

While the city will get that money back with the sale, finding the up-front money for the city to make the purchase could be problematic.

For that reason, City Council members are resistant to the idea.

Where is the city going to get $120,000 for the up-front costs of the properties? A grant? It’s certainly not in the budget and that kind of money won’t be available in the future.

And why is the city getting in the real estate business?

Those are the valid questions council members are asking.

The idea is a good one, but the better course would be to simply recruit developers to buy the blighted properties without having to act as the go-between,