Scottville continues to work on blight issues

September 23, 2013

SCOTTVILLE — One of this year’s top goals of the Scottville City Commission has been to work on blighted homes. Almost 30 homes were identified earlier this year by city commissioners and the city administration as being in violation of the city’s building code ordinance. Some of those violations may have been as simple as having junk in the yard to not having siding on the house — a fire hazard. Others were in need of painting or structural issues.

The city commission then identified the most significant violators and started to pursue having the properties brought up to code. To date, each of the property owners have now responded that they are making efforts to fix up the houses. City Manager Amy Wiliams is expected to report to the city commission this afternoon about the last property owner to report back. The home is located on East State Street and is in need of much repair.

Williams said the owner has contacted her and stated they are making efforts to fix up the house. They are even receiving help from their church.

Williams said that the city will re-evaluate the code violations in the spring and will make sure that the previous violators are in compliance.

The reason for the push to bring the properties in line with the code is a matter of economics. It’s two-fold. First, the city relies on property tax to generate revenue to pay for services. Those services include the Department of Public Works — which maintains the streets and utilities, among other things — police protection and garbage service, among other areas. When homes are in violation of the code, they are worth less money and therefore assessed at a lesser value for taxes.

This may seem like a good deal to the property owner except poor assessment of your neighbor’s home can mean your property value will decrease as well. Again, this may seem like a good deal because you pay less taxes. But, when it’s time to refinance your home or take out a home improvement loan, you may find that you owe more than what your house is worth. Also, when the city collects less taxes it means it needs to decrease services.

The city commission meets at 5:30 p.m. at city hall, 105 N. Main St., Scottville.

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