South Bend to delay nuisance property bill

By: NewsCenter 16 Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Email

South Bend's Common Council will delay a vote on a chronic nuisance bill, targeting problem properties in the city.

The council was set to vote Monday night, but the bill’s sponsor, councilman Tim Scott, says they are delaying the vote to work out a few more details. He says they are adding an appeals process and considering how to make the bill fair to large and small properties alike.

The original proposal would allow only five calls to police or code enforcement in a 60-day period before the city could start charging $250 for additional calls that do not involve legitimate emergencies or crimes. The fine will not be levied for legitimate emergency calls.

Scott says unnecessary calls to the fire department can result in fines and questions why such consequences are not enforced when it comes to city police. He says police field many calls about music, noise and drinking.

“Our police are eating up a lot of man hours that can be used elsewhere,” he says. “Plus it is our tax dollars that are going to these repeat calls to certain properties within the city.”

Scott says the Courtyard Place Apartments cost tax payers $133,000 with 526 calls.

Scott compares South Bend to the city of Seattle, which he says is six times the size of South Bend. Seattle has a nuisance ordinance in place and fielded 750 calls this year. That’s compared to one property in South bend, which had 550 calls.

Scott could not specify when the bill might come up for a final vote.

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