Chesterton Tribune

Town still working on high weed and grass problem on foreclosed properties

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Here’s an idea: post a sign identifying the current owner of a foreclosed property, to let neighbors know who’s responsible for the high weeds and grass.

That’s the notion of Town Council Member Jim Ton, R-1st, who suggested at Tuesday’s meeting that a little shame can go a long way. “I like the idea of making it public who owns the property,” he said.

But as Building Commissioner Dave Novak and Fire Chief Mike Orlich noted, the problem still remains: chasing the paper trails back to the owner, which in many cases is a bank and in many of those cases an out-of-state bank.

Novak told the council that he’s working to expedite the identification process, while Orlich added that citations have been issued.

Yet citations don’t always exert enough pressure on the banks to get results and in those cases the town is trying to mow yards itself. To recoup its costs, Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann said, the town will file liens on the properties but that process itself takes time.

The message to the neighbors of a vacant property: be patient, the town is working on it.

Bullet-proof Vests

In other business, the council voted unanimously to authorize Police Chief Dave Cincoski to apply for a grant which could reimburse the CPD up to 50 percent of the cost of replacing six bullet-proof vests about to reach their expiration date and be taken out of service.

It’s a no-match grant, Cincoski said, and if awarded the CPD could save between $3,300 and $3,500 in its purchase of six new vests.

CCD Fund

Meanwhile, the council also voted unanimously to adopt a resolution re-establishing the Cumulative Capital Development Fund at the same property-tax rate: $0.04 per $100 of assessed valuation.

That vote followed a public hearing at which no one spoke in favor of the resolution and no one in opposition to it.

The CCD is used exclusively for the purchase of emergency vehicles.

Last year the council raised the CCD’s dedicated tax rate from $0.0017 to $0.04. Fifteen years ago or thereabouts, the CCD’s rate was all of 12 cents per $100 but the state reduced that rate.

Tennis Courts

Park Superintendent Bruce Mathias reported that the tennis courts at Chesterton Park are being painted this week.

“They’ll be open and ready to rock ‘n’ roll by the end of the week,” he said.



Posted 6/1/2012