City Hall Watch:
GOP Seeks Lower Fines For Blighted Buildings; Council Hearing Tuesday, 7/8
The Common Council’s Planning, Zoning and Housing Sub Committee will hold a public hearing Tuesday, 7/8, at 7 p.m. at New Britain City Hall on a proposal from four Republican caucus aldermen that would revise the city’s anti-blight policy and reduce the fine for violators from $250 per day to $90.
At issue is how tough the city will be on absentee owners responsible for significant and recurring blight and the extent to which anti-blight policies can be enforced effectively to preserve housing stock.
The current ordinance states that blighted properties will be subject to a fine of $250 per blighted condition per day after a 30-day grace period. The fine doubles if not paid within 10 days of issuance. A check of the City Hall website as of July 6th shows that the anti-blight ordinance currently on the books has been removed or is no longer available to the public.
The new resolution filed by Ald. Willie Pabon, Don Naples, Jamie Giantonio and Lou Salvio would lower the penalties by issuing a ticket for $90 per violation. If fines are not paid within 15 days the fine would triple on top of the original fine.
The revision and lower penalty amounts, however, appear to cap the economic liability of violators at several hundred dollars, replacing the heftier $250 per day penalty. The revised ordinance has been presented as a way to “strengthen” the city’s anti-blight enforcement at the same time it lowers the fines that can be imposed for the most serious blight conditions.
The anti-blight ordinance is over and above other ordinances that provide the city with the ability to impose fines at $90 for violations of various building and health codes and is separate from the “Clean and Lien” policy introduced by the former Stewart administration that continued to be enforced in the O’Brien administration. These other forms of enforcement are effective at addressing many violations involving short-term issues, but they do not provide the city with the economic clout to address major problems of blighted blocks and properties in neighborhoods. The bad actors in the city’s housing market can game the system with the $90 fines and enforcement that is little more than a slap in the wrist.
The anti-blight policy also includes a requirement that the city implement a database system that tracks blighting conditions for more effective enforcement.
In its deliberations the Common Council should review current enforcement data.
Ways to strengthen anti-blight policy should be identified instead of lowering the penalty for those responsible for blighted properties — a move that reduces the ability of the city to fight blight.
The 2014 Campaign……..
New Britain Dems To Host Reception For State Treasurer Nappier July 17th
New Britain Democrats will host a July 17th fund-raising reception in support of the re-election of State Treasurer Denise Nappier. The event will be held from 5-7 p.m. at Cafe Beauregard, 2 Main Street.
Nappier, the first African-American woman elected to serve as a State Treasurer in the nation, was first elected in 1998 and is seeking a fifth term as the state’s chief elected financial officer.
Treasurer Nappier’s Committee is participating in the Citizens’ Election Program and individuals may contribute up to $100 in qualifying donations. More information is available at www.denisenappier2014.com
Citizen Action Group Barbeque July 19th
The Connecticut Citizen Action Group will hold its 7th annual BBQ on Saturday, July 19th, from 3 to 6 pm at the Unionville home of Ned Statchen and Liz Fitzsimmons, 6 Bella Lane.
The Host Committee (to date) includes: Shirley Black, Bill Bloss, Isabel Carrasquillo, Steve Derby, Ted Feng, Fletcher Fischer, Frank Gerratana M.D., Susan Goldman, Anne Hulick, Steve Karp, David McCluskey, Bernie McKinnon, Amy McLean Salls, John McNamara, Max Medina, Art Perry, David Pudlin, Pat Rehmer, Terri Reid, Beverley Brakeman, UAW Region 9A CAP Council, John Valengavich
There is a $35 suggested minimum donation. Please be as generous as possible and don’t forget to invite a friend! Donations or gifts to CCAG are not tax-deductible. For more information visit CCAG’s Facebook page
Our objective must be to assure that all Americans play by the same rules, and all Americans play against the same odds. Who among us would claim that that is true today? We have proved that great progress is possible. We know how much still remains to be done. And if our efforts continue, and if our will is strong, and if our hearts are right, and if courage remains our constant companion, then my fellow Americans, I am confident, we shall overcome – President Lyndon Johnson at a 1972 symposium on the 1964 Passage of the Civil Rights Act.
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