Last week, Hopkinsville Chief Administrative Officer Troy Body announced that the city is planning to form a mass foreclosure committee in order to shave down the stack of code enforcement liens on abandoned properties around town.
Body said the Code Enforcement Mass Foreclosure Committee was reviewing a bid last week from a collection agency that will help track down and either obtain payments from unresponsive property owners or get the ball rolling on foreclosing.
Our stance on this matter is that while mass foreclosure does not sound great it will have positive results overall.
For property owners on the receiving end of foreclosure, this may feel like the city is stealing their property. However, Body said notice upon notice has been issued to many of the owners and the response is often mute.
Body explained that the city has no interest in owning the 1,000 vacant lots; however, the city (i.e. taxpayers) are footing the bill for upkeep of those properties.
For the sake of saving money and making people take responsibility for their property, we think this will benefit Hopkinsville as a whole.
The committee will include Body along with public safety and code enforcement officials, who deal firsthand with the impact of abandoned property (squatters, fires, drug activity and overall safety hazards). If the community will look better through this process, it is a win for attracting new residents and businesses.
However, we can not forget the property owners who might have fallen on hard times and are ashamed to admit that they can not take care of their property. Studies show that most property owners are not absent for selfish reasons; non-payment of fines or lack of upkeep could be a result of a personal hardship.
Our hope is that the mass foreclosure committee will treat the property owners with dignity, and understand their situations.
If there are resources available through community development block grants, offer them. If they need a little more time, work with them.
The overall idea is to make Hopkinsville better as a whole, and if property owners can come out on the other side in good standing with the city, that's a win for us all.