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New plan to sell vacant properties

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Updated: 12/12/2012 2:36 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- The city has a plan to get vacant properties back on the tax rolls.

Jerry Moran has owned his restaurant downtown for three decades. Right across the street sits a prime piece of property. But, the old church sits empty.

"We have a lot of people come through here from out of town and say that's a magnificent building. I say well it's for sale," said Jerry Moran.

It's not the only one either. Action News has learned the city has a new plan to get empty properties back on the tax rolls. With many properties sitting, you're still paying the bills. "The mayor wants the best return for taxpayers and doing that is getting property back on the tax roll in some cases," said spokesperson David DeCamp.

So by January, the mayor will put out a request for proposals for more than 2,000 properties in Jacksonville. Some of the biggest ones are the armory, old courthouse, LaVilla restaurant and the 9th and Main restaurant. Just those vacant downtown properties alone are costing taxpayers more than $20,000 a year. The city thinks the idea will generate ideas and a plan to revitalize the area, especially with prime properties like the old courthouse up for grabs. "Real estate like that, it's a great opportunity to get a public-private partnership," said DeCamp.

One business owner just hopes for ideas to boost the area fast. "That's the way to do it. Instead of raising property taxes, expand the base," said Moran.

This proposal will still have to go through city council. The mayor's office hopes to have approval in the next two months. The city will also consider consolidating properties.
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