Vacant Home Charge Proposal Puts Pressure On Banks To Negotiate

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Click on picture to see video of citizen comments on Coon Rapids foreclosures

Click on picture to see video of citizen comments on Coon Rapids foreclosures

“This is the first time I’ve actually vocalized this to anyone,” Jeanie Johnson, former Coon Rapids resident who lost their home to foreclosure.

Since 2008, Banks have foreclosed on 3,900 homes in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. A group of concerned citizens appeared at the Open Mic session of the Coon Rapids City Council to ask the City Council Tuesday to stop picking up the tab of the foreclosure crisis. The group supports an ordinance requiring banks to register foreclosures with the city and pay a fee to cover the costs of the vacant properties. It would also provide an incentive for banks to negotiate with homeowners instead of just foreclosing.

Currently, Coon Rapids covers the costs of identifying vacant homes, doing inspections, removing trash, responding to increased public safety calls, and conducting other code enforcement services to foreclosed properties.

The group submitted a petition with 164 signatures from residents supporting a proposed ordinance that would require big banks to pay for the maintenance of foreclosed properties, instead of taxpayer dollars picking up the tab. The group asked City Council for an ordinance that requires banks to register foreclosed properties with the city, including contact information for who will be maintaining the property. This registration process would also include a fee to cover the maintenance costs of monitoring the property.

Cities around the country have already passed similar guidelines in response to the foreclosure crisis. Minneapolis, for example, has a similar program called “Vacant Building Registration” which charges banks $6,900 a year for the cost of the property to the city.

There is no Occupy Coon Rapids as yet, so their has been no contact with OccupyHomesMN.

Bill Sorem

Bill Sorem is a longtime advertising professional who started with Campbell Mithun and ended up with his own agency. After a tour as a sailing fleet manager in the Virgin Islands he turned to database programming as an independent consultant. He has written sailing guides for the British Virgin Islands and Belize, and written for a number of blogs. In 2010, he volunteered as a citizen journalist with The UpTake and has stayed on as a video reporter.

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