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City passes ordinance to strengthen position on foreclosed properties

September 12, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Canfield City Council passed an ordinance at the Sept. 5 meeting that would give the city a better tool when it came to finding owners of a foreclosed property. The new ordinance will require anyone filing a foreclosure notice to file an affidavit of facts that basically states who is responsible for the property.

The new ordinance will help in the area of nuisance properties. Within the city, properties are under a maintenance code requiring lawns and exteriors to be maintained so as not to create a nuisance. The problem the city has encountered is when a property is in foreclosure, often the lawns aren't cut and the structure is poorly maintained, if at all. Often, the ownership or responsibility for maintaining it falls to a mortgage company in some other state. Sometimes, trying to track down that company can take months. The city has to send notice to remedy the problem, such as high grass. If the city doesn't know who the owner is, it can't send the letter.

One problem is the sales of mortgages. They are often bundled together under a package number and sold to another mortgage company. The original mortgage number is now part of a bundled package and hard to trace. By requiring the affidavit of facts, the city would have the address and contact information for who is responsible. Also, if a foreclosure is filed and the affidavit of facts is not, there are consequences.

"This requires the bank or lender to notify the city of filing foreclosure actions," said city attorney Mark Fortunato. "If they fail to do so, there is a penalty. This will give the city a much better handle on who is responsible for the property and we intend to enforce this rigorously."

He said the city staff will be watching foreclosure notices in the paper. Any that appear within the city will be expected to file the information or the penalty will be enacted.

On a different matter, Mayor William Kay said he recently was invited to a state session on consolidating municipal courts. He said it seems the state wants to do away with Mayor's courts and combine them with other municipal courts. Kay said he was able to speak during the session.

"I got up and described our Mayor's Court in Canfield," he said. "Our court is not to raise money. We only hear misdemeanors like traffic violations, property maintenance issues and neighbor disputes. It lets us know what is going on in our town."

He said if the Canfield court were combined with the county, Canfield police officers would have to drive into Youngstown and sit through an already back-up court docket when it came to trials.

"This is a hotly contested issue and there is a possibility that our Mayor's court could be swept out," Kay said.

In other business:

Resident Steve Easton again asked for an update on the drainage issue around the high school east to Glenview. City manager Joe Warino said there are several ideas on the drawing board, but he is presently awaiting the drawings to show what volume of runoff is coming from the school property.

City Councilman John Morvay mentioned that the Core Six, of which he is a part, is taking on a project to help veterans. The group of six local businessmen has come together since 2007 to build homes for local people in need. He said the Core Six will be tearing down a 1930s home in Youngstown that houses American Legion Post 472. The post has served as a temporary housing facility for homeless veterans. The Core Six will tear down the home and build a new structure to better serve veterans. He said about 85 percent of the project is covered but further donations are being sought.

Council approved two change order ordinances for Foust Construction regarding the North Broad Street Safety Upgrade project.

Council approved an ordinance authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract for the demolition of a building at 120 Indian Lake Drive.

Council also approved a contract with GPD Group Consultants for basic engineering services and project administration for the East Main Street Safety Upgrade project.



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