Tuesday, April 3, 2012

City administration supports foreclosure pilot program

Cincinnati City administration supports a pilot program that could mitigate the effects of foreclosures in five City neighborhoods, according to a recent report by Department of Community Development Director Michael Cervay.

The report is based on a February 28 motion submitted by Councilmembers Thomas, Sittenfeld, Seelbach, Young, Winburn and Vice Mayor Qualls asking for a report on the feasibility of a mandatory registry for vacant, foreclosed properties in the neighborhoods of College Hill, Madisonville, Mount Airy, Price Hill and Westwood.

In addition to the registry, the program would provide for stiffer civil offense charges for property code violations, point of sale inspections prior to sheriff's sales, and the assessment of code violation repair costs to mortgagees.

According to Cervay, the program would be enforced by the Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Division (PMCE) of the Department of Community Development.

Approximately $315,000 would be required annually to fund the program, Cervay said, which would pay for an administrative technician to manage and enhance the City's database of registrations, two full-time property maintenance inspectors, and at least one community development analyst officer to manage the contract and oversee repairs.

The annual registration fee would have to be set at $500, based upon the registration of an estimated 650 vacant foreclosed properties.

"The annual registration fee does not include the cost to establish a revolving foreclosed property hazard abatement fund to abate code violations on vacant foreclosed property at point of sale under the Ordinance," Cervay said.

A City/community technology partnership could also offset costs by mobilizing community volunteer groups to help monitor problem properties. A stakeholder education conference including coverage of the new law, compliance requirements, and the consequences of noncompliance would be part of the program.

City administration also supports implementation of the pilot program City-wide, providing "equal protection for all neighborhoods", Cervay said.

Previous reading on BC:
Foreclosure report shows 2010 filings down, losses up (4/4/11)
Foreclosed properties getting a makeover in Westwood, Kennedy Heights (3/24/11)
Ohio awarded additional $148M in Hardest-Hit foreclosure funding (8/12/10)
Ohio one of five states to receive federal foreclosure funds (8/5/10)
Kearney bill could generate funding for foreclosure prevention (8/2/10)