Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Council votes to foreclose on home owners

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Council votes to foreclose on home owners
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Syracuse is entering a new phase of a project meant to bring in more taxes and spruce up neighborhoods, all by getting tough on foreclosures. YNN's Andrew Sorensen explains how the process is going and why it could be sticking around for a while.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Since November, the city has been pressuring tax delinquent properties into paying up. They turned a new corner Monday: Foreclosure. They've been inching about 200 properties toward foreclosure under their new land bank program.

According to Neighborhood and Business Development Commissioner Paul Driscoll, most owners paid.

"We feel like it's been a great success right now. In fact, more, the percentages of redemption are far higher than we predicted at the beginning," Driscoll said.

That's netted an extra $2 million this year.

Monday, they were voting on what to do with the final 30 or so properties. The land bank is supposed to take over and foreclose them, 12 of which are owner-occupied houses. But the city's deputy finance commissioner says it's not the end of the line.

"The property owner has the ability to either pay the taxes, enough taxes needed to stop the foreclosure or enter into a payment plan," said Sheldon Ashkin.

They may relocate some people after a round of inspections.

Driscoll explained, "If the properties are so far gone and there are tenants in them, then we will look to immediately relocate those tenants into quality housing, but most of them will stay right where they are."

But this is also just the first round. The city says there are thousands of other properties that could be entering this process very soon.

"Notices are actually being considered for round four," said Driscoll. "Round two and three are already out there."

The city says the whole process could take a few years. The city says the land bank could begin taking over and inspecting properties within a couple of weeks. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP