Butler County Land Bank Makes Blight Disappear

Butler County-owned property in Georgia going into foreclosure

How did the county come to own a home in Georgia? Former Butler County Care Facility director Chuck Demidovich said it’s a unique story.

RELATED: Butler County seeks buyer for Georgia home

A woman moved to Butler County to live with her daughter, and three years later she was admitted to the county-run care facility but denied Medicaid because she still owned her Georgia home.

Butler County owns this house in Hawkinsville, Georgia.
Photo: PROVIDED

When her nursing home bill reached about $50,000, Demidovich said a deal was made to buy the house in 2004 so the woman would qualify for aid and the county got about $40,000 of her bill paid. Under Ohio law, nursing homes are supposed to take people’s property when they enter a facility.

“It’s a strange thing,” Demidovich, who retired late last year, previously told the Journal-News. “The thing is the law says I’m supposed to collect these people’s property. I really don’t want to do that and this is an exact example why. If I get somebody’s house that nobody wants, I might as well become a land bank.”

The county paid $18,000 for the Georgia home — the Pulaski County Georgia auditor values it at $13,820 now — and Demidovich said he couldn’t find anyone to buy it so the county continued to pay the $200 a year tax bill on the home.

The 1,050 square-foot home got on former asset and purchasing director Randy Quisenberry’s radar while the county was in the midst of “rightsizing” its assets by getting rid of leased space and renegotiating rents.

The commissioners put the home out for bids in the fall of 2015 with an asking price of $8,000. One bid came in at $1,000 after the county advertised for bids twice.

Quisenberry, who was handling the house sale, left the county’s employ around that time and County Administrator Charlie Young said the matter fell through the cracks.

RELATED: Butler County looking to shed some office space, property

“It looks like it just kind of just wasn’t dealt with,” Young said. “So a couple years go by and it comes back up again.”

The last tax bill the county paid on the property was in 2015, so the state of Georgia recently came calling, according to Young.

“We received a notice it was going to be going up for foreclosure, for auction sales,” he said. “The state was going to take it because the taxes haven’t been paid, so we’re just going to allow it to go through that process.”

Butler County commissioners in August officially rejected that one bid they received three years ago, so now the process in Georgia can proceed.

“It’s the easiest way to get rid of it,” Assistant Prosecutor Roger Gates said. “They’ve tried to advertise it and sell it and not had much luck.”

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