Batavia wants state to crack down on abandoned properties - The Buffalo News

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Batavia wants state to crack down on abandoned properties

BATAVIA – The City Council wants the state to tighten regulations and penalties for properties that are condemned or foreclosed, according to a resolution passed at Monday’s meeting.

Dubbed the “Zombie Law” for the dead who return but cannot speak, it would speed a process affecting lending institutions’ responsibilities and legal hurdles. A letter of support for the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act will be sent to state officials for action in the next legislative session.

The city has dealt in the past year with about 50 properties, mostly dilapidated residences that are often ignored by absentee landlords, banks and other lending institutions.

The law being sought by Council members would require regular inspections by the owners with a goal to restore the property. It would allow municipalities a greater role in foreclosure proceedings on vacant buildings.

In a conference session, the Council discussed a pending merger of Time Warner and Comcast. The city has had a franchise agreement with Time Warner for cable and Internet service. It was last renewed in 1993.

City Manager Jason R. Molino said it might be necessary to bring back a Cable Advisory Committee, which has not met in years. The city could file comments on the proposed merger and any effect it might have on local residents.

With a new franchise, the city could negotiate a new contract. One consideration would be eliminating competition and the possibility of rate increases.

In other action, Council members:

• Approved in a 5-3 vote a 2.5 percent raise for Molino, a manager for the past decade, increasing his annual salary to $89,481.

• Appointed Molino as fair housing officer and Dawn Fairbanks as human resources specialist as coordinator for the American with Disabilities Act. Both overseers are required by Community Development Block Grants from the state.

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