SPRINGFIELD State Senator Rachel Ventura advanced legislation that would tackle surplus state-owned properties to save taxpayer dollars on their maintenance and upkeep.

“Our state has numerous state-owned properties that have either been vacant or unused, which in turn wastes taxpayer dollars,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “This legislation will take both environmental and financial accountability on these surplus properties that have affected surrounding areas.”

Senate Bill 381 would require the Director of the Department of Central Management Services to assess surplus real property held by the state five years or more and determine whether the property is unsellable in its current condition.

Additionally, the director of CMS would be required to submit a report to the Illinois General Assembly with recommendations and assessments on the properties reported on to determine maintenance and security costs, the properties' fair market value, estimated demolition or remediation costs.

The legislation would also create the Sustainable Ownership and Surplus Property Environmental Clean-up Fund, which CMS could use to cover the costs of both demolition and environmental remediation on the surplus real property.

“The state has numerous abandoned buildings that have become nothing but hazardous nuisances that are also eyesores for the communities where they are located,” said State Senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield). “This will provide transparency on the conditions, issues, and costs that are associated with these properties, as well as provide accountability for the messes that have been created in these communities by the state.”

Senate Bill 381 passed the House on Tuesday and awaits further action.