Politics & Government
9:59 am
Thu June 27, 2013

Aldermen: Thousands of Additional Dollars Needed to Maintain Foreclosed Properties

Milwaukee may use a sizable chunk of money from its contingent fund, to handle city-owned foreclosed properties.

The city now owns hundreds of properties because the owners failed to pay taxes. Willie Hines is Common Council president.

“Currently we have about 1,200 or so. By the end of the year it’s another anticipated 1,200 properties, for a total of 2,000-plus properties,” Hines says.

Hines says, while many require maintenance – and ultimately buyers -- a big nuisance now is long grass.

It’s been growing fast because of all the rain, and on some lots, is four-feet high. Alderwoman Milele Coggs says residents who care for their homes are disappointed.

“Over the last couple of summers, the majority of the complaints, at least that my office has gotten -- which has an abundance of foreclosed properties and all of that kind of thing -- we look up the properties, and nine times out of 10, they’re city-owned properties,” Coggs says.

The city expects to own more than 2,000 foreclosed properties by the end of the year.
Credit Bob Bach

A Common Council committee voted Wednesday to spend more than $500,000 on grass and snow removal over the next six months. The city contracts with vendors to provide those services. The committee approved another sum of more than $100,000, to help market the city’s foreclosed properties.

Budget Director Mark Nicolini says Milwaukee has been chipping away at its lot. During the last couple years, the city has sold 400 tax-foreclosed properties.

“That is progress, but unfortunately (with) the challenge of the inventory size, it’s almost like trying to empty out Lake Michigan with water buckets,” Nicolini says.

And Nicolini says because foreclosures are growing, he plans to include more money in next year’s budget to manage them.