Officials in Beatrice, Nebraska say they're investing in the future of their community, which they hope will be much larger and drive more property tax revenue as a result of their homesteading idea.
"'There are only so many ball fields a place can build,' Tobias J. Tempelmeyer, the city attorney, said the other day as he stared out at grassy lots, planted with lonely mailboxes, that the city is working to get rid of. 'It really hurts having all this stuff off the tax rolls.'
Around the nation, cities and towns facing grim budget circumstances are grasping at unlikely - some would say desperate - means to bolster their shrunken tax bases. Like Beatrice, places like Dayton, Ohio, and Grafton, Ill., are giving away land for nominal fees or for nothing in the hope that it will boost the tax rolls and cut the lawn-mowing bills."