Whether a home is overcrowded, an eye-sore, or safety hazard, problem properties can be one of the most significant quality of life issues for any neighborhood. My administration is meeting this challenge head on, working aggressively and comprehensively to fix each and every problem property in Revere.
Overcrowding causes numerous problems such as fire hazards, health hazards, and other quality of life issues such as parking and neighborhood disputes. Unattended properties with sanitary code violations can quickly become a problem to the community at large, posing safety risks to tenants, neighbors, and emergency responders – not to mention the impact on home values. I take neighborhood safety very seriously and will not tolerate those who refuse to comply with our ordinances, negatively impact the quality of life for other residents, or in some cases, place the public in danger.
While the problem of blighted properties is a common one for communities across the country, we have taken a unique approach that is netting real results. In 2012 during my first year in office, we created the Safe Housing Task Force (SHTF). SHTF brings together officials from several city departments, including Health, Fire and Police, Building, Solicitor and the Mayor’s Office to develop targeted solutions for problem properties in Revere. This cross departmental collaboration has ensured that every resource in City Hall is being utilized to address this serious problem. Community members also play a critical role by notifying the SHTF of properties that are rundown, abandoned, or thought to have code violations.
In order to resolve issues the SHTF uses aggressive tactics including fines which escalate over time- – some go to a maximum of $500 dollars a day and for particularly egregious situations, result in receivership actions, and/or administrative search warrants. If fines go unpaid, the amount of the total fine(s) is automatically transferred to the property tax bill, essentially becoming a lien on the property.
Completely resolving issues with problem properties can take many months, and unfortunately, as much as we’d like, not every blighted or problem property can be addressed all at once. However, each time a distressed property is resolved, our neighborhoods are made stronger. These neighborhood level victories, one at a time, will ensure that Revere continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Starting in August members of my staff will be providing semi-annual updates to the City Council and the public on efforts being made by the SHTF.
My administration will continue to implement our zero-tolerance stance against problem properties, ensuring that all residents can achieve the quality of life that they deserve and rightfully expect.
Dan Rizzo is the Mayor of Revere.