Vacant-home law loved, hated

The increasingly controversial proposed Toledo law to require owners of vacant buildings to register and pay a fee was vehemently denounced yesterday by a number of opponents and applauded by others during a lengthy City Council committee hearing.

If approved, the fee starts at $100 for residential buildings and increases the longer a property is vacant.

It tops out at $3,000 for residential buildings vacant for at least six years and $60 additional for each apartment unit over the eighth one.

Susan Frederick, the city’s manager of code enforcement, said the law would help the city fight owners who abandon their homes or businesses and cannot be located. She said taxpayers are often left paying for neglected property.

Over the last two years, the city has billed nuisance property owners $3.5 million for demolition costs and $660,000 for cutting lawns and cleaning up garbage, Ms. Frederick said.

During that time, only $35,000 has been collected, she said.

Councilman Tom Waniewski said he didn’t know how the law would help locate people if the city hasn’t been able to do so.

The proposed law was forwarded to council’s next regular meeting June 17.

http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080606/NEWS17/83...

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At a 0.8% collection rate, you'd think the dumbasses in Government Center would have turned these debts over to courts and agencies in order to get a much higher collection rate. Even a final 20% collection rate is about 24 times larger than what we have now. Selling off the debts at 20c on the dollar makes perfect fiscal sense.

Did the city ever collect on the demo costs for the arson-destroyed Arbuckle Building in downtown? A freaking realtor allegedly owned it, and that implies a business presence with accounts that can be seized. Right?

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