Local Matters

Community Sponsors

May 24, 2010 - 11:07pm

Councilman suggests making foreclosed homes available to city employees

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, city council, landlords, foreclosures.

Rather than auction away foreclosed homes, maybe the city should offer them first, at a minimal cost, to city employees, Councilman Tim Buckley suggested at Monday's Batavia City Council meeting.

tim_buckley.jpgHis idea met with some resistance, particularly Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian, who said any such program should be open to the entire community.

But the gist of Buckley's proposal got some support -- rather than auction off homes that the city has seized for unpaid taxes, the city should create a program to turn them into owner-occupied residences. Instead of taking a chance that through the auction process they become rentals, find buyers who want to fix them up as their own homes.

"We should set up some type of committee to look into taking foreclosures and selling the property at a minimum cost to employees with some guarantees, and one of the guarantees would be that would agree to live in the property or five years," Buckley said.

In Buckley's plan, city employees would get the property a low cost, giving them instant equity that they could borrow against and invest $20,000 to $30,000 in home restoration.

There are 130 people employed by the city.

“When I was a young patrolman, I know I would have jumped at a program like this,“ Buckley said.

Christian said she was totally against the idea of making such a program available only to city employees.

"I would rather offer it to the whole community than just one single group," Christian said.

Councilman Frank Ferrando struck a middle ground, saying opening such a program to the whole community at first might pose too many complications.

"I think what Tim is saying will give us better control, and if the program works, we can expand later," Ferrando said.

City Manager Jason Molino agree to research a similar program Buckley said was once in place in Rochester, as well as what other cities might be doing along similar lines, and report back to the council.

Jeremiah Pedro
Jeremiah Pedro's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: Feb 17 2010 - 9:27am
I thought Habitat for humanity expressed interest in being able to buy these properties instead of them going to auction. I think this would be an excellent opportunity for the properties to go to people who will be owner occupiers.
Chris Charvella
Chris Charvella's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 2 months ago
Joined: Jan 15 2009 - 4:25pm
Is Buckley really suggesting this? I'm not sure he understands the implications. Habitat for Humanity is a much better idea and the end result is an owner occupied home with no consideration for who the owner is employed by.
DOUGLAS MCCLURG
DOUGLAS MCCLURG's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jul 9 2008 - 10:45am
OH MY..This Idea won't go over well with the common man!!!Nice try Mr. Buckley
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
This is stupid. Chris is right and what incentive would the city ever have to work with an owner? The current system works fine and has for decades. It does not need to be changed.
dennis wight
dennis wight's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: May 4 2008 - 9:33pm
Very often foreclosed properties are snatched up by a handful of local people with resources to purchase and remodel into multi family dwellings. On city foreclosed properties, perhaps just a stipulation that it has to be owner-occupied for a set number of years, similar to one of the federal mortgage programs. This will deter the investors from turning these properties in to multi-family. Not sure how well the city would do at the auction, though...
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
Dennis, Very good idea.
Mike Weaver
Mike Weaver's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: Apr 13 2009 - 2:29pm
I'll support almost any proposal that results in more owner occupied homes and fewer rentals.
Karen Miconi
Karen Miconi's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 5 months ago
Joined: Feb 5 2009 - 4:48pm
I agree with Rosesmary, if proposal goes through, it should be open to our community. Anything else would be blatent favoritizm, on the part of Mr. Buckley and Jason Molino.
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 38 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
I agree with Mike Weaver -- any program to get the homes to owner-occupied. And I think Frank makes a lot of sense -- start with a city employee program so you start small, see how it works and expand once it's established. It could become quite an administrative hassle to review and qualify applicants in a communitywide program. But it would be good to eventually get there.
Colin Dentino
Colin Dentino's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 5 months ago
Joined: Dec 27 2009 - 8:53am
I'm not sure I am ready to jump on board with more regulations on what can and can not be done with properties. Landlords are people too.
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
The idea of the city employees taking property for taxes and then selling it to city employees is, to me, not a good idea. If you want to stipulate the property be owner occupied for a number of years, fine. But bidding should be open to all city residents.
Jim Burns
Jim Burns's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Oct 30 2009 - 11:10am
I am all for owner occupied. I am also 100 percent AGAINST a program for the cronies of the city. I have a rental slum next door to me that was leverage by a man that has been in politics for years here. No more!
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 38 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
John, it shouldn't be a bid system. The idea is to keep the cost down so there's instant equity in order to get a loan to restore the home.
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
Howard, Who would set the selling price, the city? The same people who would get to buy the property, right? That's another reason to keep it open to all city residents. But if there should be more than one interested buyer, do you go to a lottery system?
Jim Burns
Jim Burns's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Oct 30 2009 - 11:10am
Are city employees (police, fire, workers) required to live in the city? If so then I can see giving them a little bit of an edge in buying property. If not the plan needs to be opened to city residents who have been here for mare than a year.
Lori Silvernail
Lori Silvernail's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Oct 22 2009 - 4:59pm
*...city employees would get the property a low cost, giving them instant equity that they could borrow against and invest $20,000 to $30,000 in home restoration...* This whole concept kind of makes me sick. FINE, offer these incentives, along with owner occupied for x number of years...but what's with this suggestion that it would be open to city employees only? Are you serious? I have a niece and her husband who have 2 children and they can't quite qualify for a mortgage yet. They desperately want to get out the the rental situation because they're throwing gobs of money down the drain every month to a landlord. It's nearly impossible for young people to save enough for a substantial down payment. They WANT to live in the City of Batavia, they want to own a home with a yard for their children to play in, yet they won't qualify? Offer these foreclosed homes to first time home buyers, put an income qualification in the mix, and eliminate people who want to rent these houses out. Give some families a chance to be homeowners, families who WANT to live here. This cannot be allowed to go through like this. It is entirely prejudiced against the rest of the citizens.
Beth Kinsley
Beth Kinsley's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 20 hours ago
Joined: Aug 22 2008 - 9:43pm
There's already a feeling that in order to get hired by the city you have to "know someone". This just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.
Jim Burns
Jim Burns's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Oct 30 2009 - 11:10am
There is federal money available to the city and home owners for situations like Batavia's http://www.occ.treas.gov/cdd/Newsletters/fall09/articles/cdn09fall04.htm
Bryant Tyson
Bryant Tyson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: Jun 4 2009 - 7:10pm
The idea behind the city of Rochester doing this was to try and get some of the city Police to live in the city. Turns out they still did not want to live where they worked. Batavia does not share that problem. For a city worker to get 30+ years in and a dirt cheap house they can flip or rent out every 5 years. Thats 6 houses or so in one city workers career. I don't understand how that would make more homes owner occupied? How many city workers all ready own a home in the city and how many that live out side the city would want to move into a fixer uper and start over in the city?
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 38 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
Bryant, you're assuming a city employee could buy more than one home. And that a normal person who is stable enough to keep a job for 30 years would want to move every five years, even for the financial gain.
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 38 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
I'm just saying, that issues like these could be worked out. In the past, it seemed like there was a good deal of sentiment that city employees should live in the city. I'm not necessarily endorsing Buckley's idea, but it is a way to create an incentive for employees to live in the city.
Bryant Tyson
Bryant Tyson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 2 months ago
Joined: Jun 4 2009 - 7:10pm
Do you know other wise or are you assuming it is a one time deal? I do agree most people wouldn't be moveing every 5 years. A very few would take advantage of moveing every ten years but it would happen.
Mike Weaver
Mike Weaver's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: Apr 13 2009 - 2:29pm
Is there a significant percentage of city employees that live outside the city? If so, I could get behind a program that gives them incentive to live within the city that employs them. Right now I would be happy with baby steps. Any program that ends up with fewer foreclosed homes going to rental, and more going to owner-occupied will get my approval. I can understand the sentiment that wants it open to everyone. I would hope that any program adopted works towards that endgame.
Lori Silvernail
Lori Silvernail's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Oct 22 2009 - 4:59pm
So are we to assume that there aren't any qualified Batavians for open city jobs? Or are we to assume the non-Batavians who are hired are so damned valuable to us that we have to basically pay for the priviledge of hiring them? Come on.
Richard Gahagan
Richard Gahagan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 2 months ago
Joined: Nov 18 2008 - 4:29pm
Great idea they could call it Public Employee Union City. Only city workers living in the city would be allowed to own homes there. They could tax themselves to death and everyone could get huge pay raises every year, increase fees all the time and write each other tickets for high grass in their yard and chipping paint on their houses. They could pick up each others garbage, and fill in their neighbors pot holes in the street on Wednesday night instead of bowling. No one would get any further ahead of anyone else and everyone would be totally dependent on each other and the city for every single aspect of their lives. It would be like a CSEA utopia.
Beth Kinsley
Beth Kinsley's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 20 hours ago
Joined: Aug 22 2008 - 9:43pm
Good question Mike. I would be interested to know how many of the 130 employees do not live in the city. Would this program only apply to those who don't live in the city? For instance, if an employee already owned a home in the city would he/she be able to buy one of these homes at the discounted rate? Is it only for first time homebuyers?
Dave Olsen
Dave Olsen's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: Oct 12 2008 - 11:48am
Richard, that was pretty funny. LOL
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
The City had a Citizen Action Committee (CAT) that looked into this issue. They had some great ideas, but Councilman Ferrando didn't allow it to see the light of day. How about going back to that report and, review it, and go from there?
Mike Weaver
Mike Weaver's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: Apr 13 2009 - 2:29pm
I guess I don't understand the uproar about offering this idea to city employees first. Especially if it were targeted towards non-resident employees and limited to one property per person over their career. I am working under the assumption that most city employees already own their home. And I doubt that there would be a great number of people who would move out of the home they already own so that they could get a low cost foreclosure home. Most of the properties on the foreclosure lists each year are in not very good condition. I suspect that no more than a very small handful of employees would be willing to take advantage of a foreclosure home and all of the renovating it would require. And I expect that there would still be a surplus of foreclosures after city employees had a shot at taking them. The surplus could then be offered to the public for the same deal that city empolyees get. What am I missing?
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 38 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
I see it as you do, Mike. I'm not wedded to the idea of a city employee program (I like very much at least making them available to anybody who would buy a house to live in and use the instant equity to fix it up), but I, too, wonder at the objection to at least starting a program with that narrow focus and expanding from there. Why not offer a rookie cop or first-year firefighter, or even a new DPW employee such a program. There's nothing wrong with employee retention programs when you have resource available. It can pay long-term dividends. And it's not like such a program would really be costing the city anything. I just don't see the downside. I'm not advocating for a city employee program. I just don't see the downside.
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
Howard, It's the idea of setting one group ahead of others or of bribing employees to live in the city with a low cost deal. And again, it's the same people taking the property, setting the price for the property and them getting first crack at buying the property. The use of a lottery system tied into a minimum residency requirement would be easy enough to set up. The number of properties is not overwhelming so the need for a trail period with city employees only is not needed.
Howard B. Owens
Howard B. Owens's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 38 min ago
Joined: Apr 23 2008 - 3:05pm
John, companies offer employee perks all the time. The properties are at least going to be sold, I would imagine, for the price of the back taxes. It would be quite easy to make part of the ordinance some regulation that the the sale price is the amount of back taxes or 1/3 the assessed value at the time of foreclosure, which ever is greater. That takes away any objection to "same people setting the prices as buying them." The price would be fixed by statute. But even if not, is that really such a big deal since they're supposed to be sold in a program such as this at rock-bottom, below-market-value prices? The room for corruption here is pretty minimal.
Julie A Pappalardo
Julie A Pappalardo's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: Mar 3 2009 - 12:23pm
Ummmm..... aren't forclosed homes already available for City employees?? AT AUCTION, just like everyone else (unless you or on the "bad landlord" llist) I can't believe that anyone would even suggest something like this? This is an entitlement program for City employees!!! Frank Ferrando, I am SHOCKED that you would even consider supporting something like this!! It COULD be a good program (if everyone were included) kind of like the Federal one.....BUT.....people are all ready scamming the Feds, by buying houses in another name so they LOOK like a first time buyer, renting it out, and then live somewhere else. WHO is going to police that? I think the poor "grass police" guy has enough on his plate making sure that people mow their lawn (rolling eyes).... Maybe the City can hire yet another employee (that we can't afford) to spy on people to make sure they are actually LIVING there. Then there is the debt factor. So, the City will sell these houses to City employees, then give them a LOAN to fix it up.......this is MORE LEVERAGE (aka DEBT) to put on people. Aren't we trying to avoid leverage?? I have been screaming about encouraging home ownership in the City for YEARS. I just don't think this is the way to do it. 50ish% of the houses in Batavia are rentals because there are NO GOOD JOBS for people to make enough to afford to buy a house! Unless you want to get into that Sub Prime thing that crashed the whole country! Batavia just chased another employer out of town a few weeks ago. They are moving to Rochester because they got a TAX INCENTIVE. LOWER TAXES MEANS BUSINESS AND JOBS (and everyone assumes I'm a liberal)!!! I know people who looked around Batavia to expand their business (which has been steadily growing), and because of all the red tape, zoning, and TAXES.....they are looking outside the City. So, some other Municipality will benefit from his business, their residents will get jobs........and real estate in 14020 stays empty and continues to decay. The only jobs that have been created around here as of late are : part time retail jobs that pay minimum wage. These are jobs for retirees and high school kids!! People want to complain about the "slum lords", well instead of giving an ENTITLEMENT to the City employees. Why not give TAX INCENTIVES to property owners to fix up their properties. Not just first time buyers or owner occupied...open it to EVERYONE! You would be amazed at what can happen when you actually let people KEEP some of their $$. I'm sorry, but we need new people running this City with some new and fresh ideas to get taxes lowered, romance some industries to come here and help turn Batavia into the lovely little town it used to be!
Steve Ognibene
Steve Ognibene's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 5 hours ago
Joined: Jun 24 2008 - 2:27am
Lori Silvernail has the best comments here and support her suggestions 100%. Why do only the city employees have a crack at these homes? There are others who would like to get out of paying rent and would like to purchase a home whether be a 1st, 2nd or 3rd time buyer. Give others a chance, have a lottery to pull names of qualified people other than just city employees. The people who already live in Batavia who has stayed here for many years to SUPPORT our city should be given the chance!
Mark Potwora
Mark Potwora's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: May 14 2008 - 6:42pm
All great points Julie...Why don't we get tax incentives to fix up our property...Instead they raise your assessment..They raised the property tax rates again this year..Is the goal to put us all in tax forecloser,so that they can give our houses to some poor city employee..What about the poor private sector employee..Socialism at its best...
John Roach
John Roach's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 2 days ago
Joined: May 29 2008 - 5:22am
Howard, Employee incentives are usually given to either keep current employees who might leave or to attract them when it is hard to find takers for jobs. Neither case applies here in Batavia. But if this idea ever is implemented, I would exclude anyone who can not show current city residency.
Richard Gahagan
Richard Gahagan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 years 2 months ago
Joined: Nov 18 2008 - 4:29pm
I think all city employees should be forced to buy foreclosed city homes. But only after they got married to other city employees and have at least two city employee kids one city boy and one city girl. The city boy and city girl would go to city schools and work for the city when they got out. Then they would marry other city employees and live in city houses, and have more city kids and so on. Soon a new genetically superior city employee hominid would evolve that would be keenly adapted to sucking off the city.
Ron C Welker
Ron C Welker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 4 months ago
Joined: May 30 2008 - 7:10am
Yawn.........
Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: Jun 7 2009 - 2:45am
Add a stipulation where the City can garnish the employees wages when they fail to pay the taxes because the mortgage rate on the construction loan they had to take out from the "instant equity" was too high and they too fell into foreclosure. No bank is going to give you "home equity" on the dumps that the city sells. STUPID UNFAIR IDEA.
Michael Anderson
Michael Anderson's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: Jun 7 2009 - 2:45am
Another thought....will the assessed value of the home be what it sold for? Or the value of the "instant equity?"
Jeremiah Pedro
Jeremiah Pedro's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 years 7 months ago
Joined: Feb 17 2010 - 9:27am
I like Lori and s.Ognibene's idea about some sort of a lottery system and min occupant residency requirement. @ Colin Dentino---- yeah Landlords are people to but most of them are capable of acquiring properties on the open market. They go for the auction properties cause they usually get them for a lot less than market or assessed value. That in turn allows them to have the instant equity to borrow against so they can turn the property into a multi-family dwelling. The city needs to consider all residents not just city employees. I think the lottery system would be best.
Frank Bartholomew
Frank Bartholomew's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Apr 4 2010 - 8:02pm
Rick Wouldn't they eventually suck themselves right out of existence.They would be wasting their own money for a change.

Post new comment

Log in or register to post comments

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button