The Springfield City Council Monday night approved money to implement a long-stalled ordinance on vacant or foreclosed homes. It requires owners of the homes to register their properties with a $10,000 bond.
City officials say the derelict buildings have become a serious public safety and fiscal issue for the city, which has to board up and maintain them at the taxpayers’ expense. The bond would be used by the city to defray those expenses.
Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant says the properties pose an extreme hazard to firefighters.
“Buildings deteriorate. But when they’re vacant and not maintained they deteriorate quicker because of the weather, with open roofs or open windows. So anything they can do to secure the buildings or get them fixed up, repaired or re-sold makes our job all the more safer.”
The city will spend $215,000 to pay for employees to set up the registration and bond process. The ordinance has been on the books since 2011 but has had to survive legal challenges in the federal court system. And city officials say they expect more litigation.