Summit County wants to impose a $200 fee on foreclosed properties purchased at sheriff's auctions.
The fee — expected to raise more than $400,000 a year — would help pay for the increased workload on sheriff's deputies investigating mortgage fraud and consumer affairs workers dealing with foreclosures.
''As a result of the housing crisis and predatory lending, we've had to institute the [sheriff's] foreclosure task force and the Consumer Affairs Office,'' said Jason Dodson, a county attorney.
Taxpayers now foot those bills, he said, but with banks and mortgage lenders buying about 95 percent of the auctioned properties, the county will be ''able to shift the burden of the cost of these programs back to the institutions where the problem lies.''
Dodson was unaware of any other county charging a similar assessment, called a ''Foreclosure Education and Prevention Fee'' by county leaders.
County Council's Rules Committee will discuss the proposal on Monday.
With the revenue devoted to investigations and consumer affairs, it will help combat predatory lending and assist victims with consumer counseling, said Councilman John Schmidt, who chairs the committee.
''[The fee is] not affecting the Average Joe who goes out there to buy a house in any way, shape or form,'' he said.
The Akron area has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. Last year, 2,107 foreclosed properties were sold at weekly sheriff's sales. The coun
ty expects more than 2,700 will be sold this year.
The county boosted the court fee to order a sheriff's sale from $220 to $620 last year. That fee is paid by the bank or mortgage lender, but often is passed on to foreclosure victims, Dodson said.
The new fee must be paid by the buyer, he said. (Delinquent tax sales are exempt from the fee.)
The foreclosure task force already has had some high-profile cases, authorities said. Its investigation led to indictments last year against Evergreen Cos. and Carnation Banc officials.
And the task force announced a 106-count indictment this month charging 19 individuals with mortgage fraud involving the theft of more than $1 million.
''The task force has been very successful in going after these folks and it sends a message that this will not be tolerated in Summit County,'' Schmidt said.
For details about foreclosure efforts, go to http://www.co.summit.oh.us/conaffairsForcloseInter.htm and http://www.savethedream.ohio.gov/.