Taxation in American States and Cities

By Richard T. Ely | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
A PLAN WHEREBY A PART OF THE INCREASING VALUE OF REAL ESTATE IN STATES AND CITIES MAY BE SECURED BY THE PUBLIC.

A CUSTOM which obtains in Savannah is suggestive. It appears that the city is extended only after ali or a considerable portion of the land in the proposed new part has been acquired by the city. This is bought by the acre, as it manifestly cannot be sold as lots until it has been laid out. After improvements have been made. the land is sold in lots at auction, and the city realizes a profit on the transaction, which accrues to the benefit of the tax-payers. Lots were formerly sold, and only interest on the amount bid was required; in other words, unalterable but redeemable ground rents for the city were established, and to-day the owners of some of the most valuable lots in the city, sold long aga, pay $20 to $30 a year into the municipal treasury.1

There are some evident defects in the plan. Ground rents for twenty-five years, with power to revise them at the expiration of the period, or to put these lots up ar auction, the purchaser to acquire improvements at an appraised valuation, would have saved for the community the increment in value due to the diligence and thrift of the community.

____________________
1
Lots belonging to the city on North Calvert Street, in Baltimore, were advertised for sale ar public auction recently, the purchaser to make semi-annual payments to the city; in other words, to pay for the use of the land. The city did not retain the right to revise the rent at the expiration of a given period.

-264-

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