Property taxes

voxphoto / via Flickr

The city of Syracuse has a new tool it hopes will reduce the number of vacant and tax-delinquent properties.

This week the state gave the OK for Syracuse and Onondaga County to create one of the first five "land banks" in New York State.

The new agency has plenty to work on.

There are 3,300 delinquent plots in the city of Syracuse alone.

Satellite imagery / Google

Four major hospitals; three large colleges; dozens of churches, charities and government buildings.

They drive Syracuse's economic and cultural activity. But leave the city's bank account hurting for revenue.

In all, Syracuse nonprofits and other tax-exempt properties make up 56 percent of the city. That's land City Hall can't collect taxes on.

Add to that properties with temporary tax breaks given to encourage development.

Add to that more than 3,000 smaller plots throughout the city that are vacant or delinquent on their taxes.

"This is characteristic of the type of problem the city has in collecting property taxes," says Common Councilor Khalid Bey, chair of the council's economic development committee.

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