Monday, May 18, 2009

Extra $310K requested for litter, weeds abatement

Cincinnati City Council's Finance Committee today will consider an ordinance to extend more funding for the cleanup of unsanitary buildings.

The ordinance would authorize the transfer of $310,000 in City contingency funds to the Department of Public Services to fund the Private Lot Abatement Program (PLAP) for the rest of this fiscal year.

The 2009/2010 City budget reduced funding for the program from a 2008 level of $286,540 to $27,000 for 2009 and, because fines and liens only cover 10 percent of the program's costs, the program's 2009 funding has already been depleted.

As of early April, 239 properties had been referred to PLAP – on pace to eclipse last year's total of 1,662 blighted lots.

In an April memo to council, city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. said that no more lots can be abated without the additional funding.

"With the current economic downturn, it is probable that the program will become even more vital to supporting the cleanliness of the City by abating weeds and litter on foreclosed and abandoned properties," he said. "These properties would remain as blighted properties without the PLAP program."

The City is also looking at the possibility of finding volunteer groups or community councils to perform the work.