BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield City Council recently voted to purchase and redevelop "chronic nuisance" properties. 16 properties that were in tax default for the past 5 years were determined by the Kern County Treasurer and Tax Collector to be eligible for purchase.
Bakersfield Vice Mayor and City Council member Andrae Gonzales explains the decision.
"When properties remain vacant for far too long, they often become nuisances. It becomes a blight in this community," said Gonzales. "That creates a negative externality for the surrounding neighborhood. The neighbors and the property owners adjacent to these properties have to deal with and live with the impacts of a vacant property."
The Kern County Treasurer and Tax Collector notified the city that it would offer certain tax defaulted properties for sale to the highest bidder at public auction, whether the highest bid came from the city itself or from private investors.
Gonzales says the private investors outbid the city at the auction, but he is still happy to see the initiative of others wanting to redevelop the properties.
"That's what we wanted. For us it doesn't matter if it's the city who owns the property or if it's a private owner. Our point, and my point, is that we want to see a more productive use of the property. We want to see an improvement to the property and want to see an improvement to the surrounding neighborhood," said Gonzales.
After being outbid at the auction, Bakersfield City Ward 1 Councilman Eric Arias said the city is still working to get the job done when it comes to other chronic nuisance properties.
"Obviously, if we are outbid and we're not able to walk away with any of the properties this go-around, that just means that we have additional resources to go after some of the other properties that are available," said Arias.
Although progress is being made with the purchase and redevelopment of these properties, Gonzales says there is still more work that needs to be done.
"What I would like us to do as a city is to develop a vacant property registry. What that would allow us to do is to be far more proactive with vacant and chronic nuisance properties, so that we can identify them early on and prevent issues before they become problems," said Gonzales.
According to Arias, the bids for the first public property auction will be finalized on Friday, and the city plans to work with those investors to provide additional development support.