The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

February 14, 2013

Albion backs property bills

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Albion Town Board voiced support Monday for a legislative effort to better enforce property maintenance on the various owners of foreclosed properties.

The town unanimously passed resolutions in support of Assembly Bills 88 and 824, which State Assemblyman Michael Kearns, who represents a portion of Erie County, said would make it mandatory for lending institutions to provide contact information of responsible parties regarding vacant structures.

“My intention is to make financial institutions and lenders more accountable to the surrounding community when homes and buildings are abandoned or foreclosure proceedings have started,” Kearns wrote in a letter to Supervisor Dennis Stirk.

Codes Enforcement Officer Dan Strong recommended the move after telling board members that tracking down and enforcing maintenance laws is an increasing hassle.

Time-consuming efforts are needed when foreclosed properties have overgrown lawns and other building code and property maintenance violations.

“There’s considerable time spent on this,” Councilman Matt Passarell asked.

“It’s not easy sometimes ... it can be tricky to track down who owns the property,” Strong responded. “This make them liable to post a contact sign on the property.”

The town also passed a resolution in support of State Senate Bill 2026, which would increase penalties against individuals filing false liens against public officials and law enforcement officials. A similar measure was passed Tuesday in Shelby and Wednesday in the Village of Albion in support of the bill, which is sponsored by State Sen. George Maziarz.

• Town Clerk Sarah Basinait expressed concern over a planned shifting of town court hours.

Town Justice Gary Moore informed the board in January that he is changing his court session from Tuesdays at 5 p.m. to Tuesdays at 9 a.m. effective in March. The town’s other court session, led by Town Justice Kevin Howard, is at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays.

Basinait said the building’s parking is not sufficient to hold both court and regular town functions at the same time.

“Residents coming in to pay water bills and taxes can’t get parking,” Basinait said. “The building is not able to handle this.”

Stirk said the situation would be monitored this month.

• The town approved the Albion Comprehensive Plan update, closing the book on the authorization stage for the collection of community recommendations.