LAKE COUNTY \u2014 Lake County officials are closely following legislation which could impact one way the county receives funds. The Michigan House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Senate Bill No. 386 in mid-October\u00a0\u2014 a bill which Lake County Chief Deputy Treasurer Kellie Allen said would allow anyone with interest on a foreclosed property to collect remaining money in an auction instead of these funds going to the county, as is current procedure. Allen presented her concerns about the bill to Lake County Commissioners during their meeting on Sept. 27,\u00a0 saying these funds help support the county. \u201cThe treasurer\u2019s office is following this legislation closely,\u201d she said. \u201cAnyone who has interest in a foreclosed property, including extended family, can pull the property and take the money going over the bid during an auction. If the bill passes, it is going to make it difficult for the county to get proceeds from an auction. People who lose a house can get the proceeds\u00a0\u2014 they will be rewarded for not paying taxes.\u00a0An example is if we foreclose on a house at $5,000 and the highest bid is $25,000, the property owner gets $20,000 instead of the county.\u201d Some county residents, such as Mark Naidow, are in favor of the bill, and feel the proceeds from a land auction should go back to the property owners. \u201cThe property owner should get the money,\u201d he said. \u201cThere are many foreclosures in the Baldwin and Idlewild areas. I knew someone who was broke and tried to make payments on their property, but ended up $400 short. This person lost their property after living there 15 years. Passage of this bill may help incidents like these to happen less.\u201d The\u00a0commissioners joined 39 other counties in Michigan passing a resolution of disapproval regarding Senate Bill No. 386. Allen explained some of the negative impacts passage of the bill could have on the county. \u201cRight now, the county is self-funded, and if the bill passes, we won\u2019t be,\u201d Allen said. \u201cWhen we get money from foreclosed property, we make sure all units in the county are made financially whole, such as schools, townships and senior programs, and this would negatively impact the funding for these. The treasurer\u2019s office pays these departments to help their budgets. \u201cThis money also helps with county projects, such as cleaning blight. We would not have made the progress we did on burning the old Cajun Bayou restaurant on the Wash King contamination site if it weren\u2019t for these funds. Also, the process to foreclose property is very expensive, and if this bill were to pass, we wouldn\u2019t be able to use this money towards these expenses.\u201d Lake County Treasurer Brenda Kutchinski explained her concerns. \u201cMany residents have been noticing progress on sites we have been able to clean up using these funds, such as the Wash King site. The passage of the bill would definitely make the county go backwards,\u201d she said. \u201cWe are trying to get the House to say no. It would be devastating to our county if this bill were to pass.\u201d Amy Patterson, Chase Township clerk, said she understands the county\u2019s stance on wanting to use the money for funding, but she feels the money should go back to the property owner. \u201cWorking in local government, I see where the county is coming from\u00a0\u2014 it is hard to run things and find funding, but the county shouldn\u2019t use money that isn\u2019t rightfully theirs,\u201d she said. \u201cIf a person spends $50,000 on a home, but falls $5,000 behind, the money they paid should go back to them or the bank \u2014 whoever gets it\u00a0\u2014\u00a0and the county should just get what is owed to them. Let\u2019s say if my mom owns a house and falls on hard times and dies, the money shouldn\u2019t go to the county, but should go to her children. I can see where it would be easy to fall on hard times, especially because Lake County is the poorest county in the state. People get hard up.\u201d John Duffing said the bill will help make allowances for people going through hardships. \u201cThe owner should get back any money due,\u201d he said. \u201cIf a person buys a house and pays for 15 or so years, and they end up losing a job, or cannot work for medical reasons and end up losing their house, it leaves them in an even worse predicament.\u201d Lake County residents can express their concerns on either side of the issue by contacting Rep. Scott VanSingel, R-Grant. He can be reached in his office at (517) 373-7317 or by email at ScottVanSingel@house.mi.gov.