Laborer could help city battle blight

Blight continues to plague the city of Gloversville. In December, I tried to hire a laborer to fight blight daily in our community, but I was turned down by some members of the Common Council.

When I asked for this laborer, we had 21 county properties that were not being maintained. Currently, we have 67. Many will be auctioned off over the coming months. However, once sold, it will take months to transfer titles. Nineteen homes are on the list to be demolished. Many of these homes will sit, as is, for one to three years with the properties not maintained. What all of this means is from April to July, there will be no property maintenance by anyone on these 67 city properties that have been foreclosed on by Fulton County.

Some council members feel we should have an independent contractor perform maintenance on the abated properties (properties where a violation or condition exists on the premises with work done on these properties being billed back to the owner).

However, county-owned properties are not abated. County properties fall under the Hornell Plan and under this, Gloversville is held responsible to maintain these 67 properties. The Hornell Plan has saved the city a lot of money and it is the city’s responsibility to make sure the maintenance is performed on these properties consistently. The aesthetics of our community are very important. This could be the beginning of a cleaner and healthier city.

The person I am proposing be hired can do abatements, but their primary responsibility is to take care of these county-owned properties that plague our city. This person will help keep our city clean by picking up garbage on our streets and curbs and will be instructed to notify the Fire Department, Police Department and Department of Public Works when a violation exists.

If you support my concerns, call your council representative in your ward. Now is the time to hire a full-time blight laborer. Please attend our Common Council meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall and become involved. I hope to see you there.

If anyone would like to speak to me about this issue, feel free to contact me at 844-6905. Thank you for your attention to this matter affecting our city.

ARTHUR SIMONDS

Gloversville 2nd Ward Councilman