Crystal has been hit hard by foreclosures. Foreclosures have a real economic impact on us all. They usually are in a greater state of neglect and this tends to only get worse the longer they are vacant. There is a cost to the city to enforce code violations and for the police to remain more vigilant around these properties. They also result in lost revenues, due to decreased property values from a lower assessed value and by decreasing surrounding property values.
Minneapolis has enacted an ordinance requiring banks that own foreclosed properties to pay a vacant fee, amounting to an annual fee of $6,000. This fee pays the city for extra city maintenance. It also is a disincentive to foreclose on homeowners, giving banks more of an incentive to negotiate with homeowners to prevent foreclosure. If the property is still foreclosed on, the vacant fee is an incentive for the bank to get the property sold and not let it remain vacant for an extended period of time.
I propose a vacant fee ordinance in the City of Crystal. Homes remaining vacant are not good for our community. We need our homes owned by families, not by vacant-landlord banks. This will maintain our property values and keep our neighborhoods safer.
Links to relevant information from the City of Minneapolis:
More information about foreclosures and foreclosure prevention can be found at the website of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC).