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Foreclosures becoming overwhelming for city

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

It's not what a city that has been struggling to balance its budget wants to deal with.

But as more and more homeowners face foreclosure, officials in Georgetown are facing the challenge of tending to homes that now sit empty.

"It's almost overwhelming, and it's becoming a burden to our community," said Georgetown Chief Building Inspector, Jim Burgess.

Burgess says the city has been inundated with phone calls from concerned residents about abandoned properties that are becoming eyesores in their neighborhoods.

"I don't want to be the one to say bad things, but there's just nothing good to say about it," Arthur Sheetz said.

Sheetz lives next door to home which went into foreclosure months ago.

"I just want somebody to do something with it. It's terrible," he said.

According to the city, legally the owner of the property -- those who left the home -- are responsible for the upkeep of the property and not the lien holder.

"It's a complicated situation and a terrible situation," said Burgess.

He says the neglected properties end up falling onto the shoulders of this already cash-strapped city.

"We keep thinking things are going to get better, that the economy is going to pick up, but unfortunately, it hasn't," Burgess said.

The city is compiling a list of foreclosed property which is growing by the day. Homes that are unsecured, have standing water or pose other dangers are considered priority properties.

Burgess says the city is looking at all the options now, but right now funds are scarce.

The city does impose fines for people who don't take care of their properties. But sometimes, officials say it's hard to track those people down.


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