The Land Reutilization Authority was created by state law in 1971 affecting only the City of St. Louis.
If a property gets three years behind on taxes, it is put up for public auction by the City Sheriff starting bid at the back tax amount. If it gets no bids, it becomes owned by the LRA. They legally must evict any occupants, and then just board it up and let it rot. This not only displaces families but also attracts squatters and crime in a downward spiral. Do we really want to live in a society that kicks impoverished people out of their homes, where literally no one else is willing to pay a small amount to live?
They are supposed to sell them back to the public, but rarely do and have amassed 12,000 parcels in the past 50 years. Huge swaths of North St. Louis boardups are owned by the City itself.
This system is decimating our City and should be ended. In St. Louis County, there are also tax auctions, but if no one bids, the current owners keep their property. There is still the incentive to pay property taxes, because otherwise anyone can buy the property out from under you. But so long as no one else wants it, one is free to stay.
Additionally, this system is rife with corruption, because the few properties the LRA does sell, are only after an Alderman gives support. As seen with the three indictments this year, these gatekeeper politicians are all too willing to take payoffs for access to these assets.
Depopulated neighborhoods can’t support their local schools, and require disproportionate police responses. By eliminating the LRA, thousands of properties will get back on the tax rolls and be occupied once again. This means the schools will get more funding and enrollment and our police force will not be stretched so thin.
We must repeal the LRA law, liquidate their holdings, and let the normal real estate market work.

Paid for by Koehr for 81st, Robert Vroman treasurer.