Alderman proposal could mean less foreclosed homes

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Many foreclosures in the City of Milwaukee are due in part to past due property taxes or city fees, in addition to mortgage problems. Alderman Robert Bauman is proposing an ordinance to help homeowners get back on track and possibly keep their homes.

The city owns 922 properties and Bauman expects 700 more homes will be taken over in August.

"These homes are important. For they most part they've got, quote unquote, good bones. The timber they're built of is insect resistant, the stone foundations aren't going anywhere," said resident Andor Horvath.

Bauman's proposed ordinance would allow homeowners to pay delinquent city fees, such as sewer and water and building code violations, in installments.

"You had a sticker shock problem and we're finding a lot of property owners were falling into arears," said Bauman.

Bauman also backs city and federal programs that provide funding to fix up foreclosed homes. With the help of neighborhood stabilization funds, run down foreclosures show renewed interest to potential buyers.

"A lot of residents want them knocked down because they don't think there's any hope and they think that's a quick fix to a blighting influence in the neighborhood, and while it may be a quick fix in the long run, it's self destruction," added Bauman.

The proposal to allow installed payments for past due city bills will go to the full council for a vote on July 23rd.