Homeowners and landlords who do not fix codes, health and safety violations at their properties may soon have their names and addresses published in the newspaper.
“The homeowners and landlords should be publicly cited for their irresponsible behavior,” said Herkimer Mayor Mark Ainsworth during Monday evening’s board of trustees meeting. “Maybe having their name and address published in the newspaper will serve as a deterrent and encourage them and others to keep their neighborhoods neat and clean. It’s definitely something worth trying.”
The board of trustees agreed with publishing the names of repeat codes violators in The Telegram — as determined by the village codes officers — similar to how the police report arrests.
Herkimer Police Chief Joseph Malone was directed by the board to assist codes enforcement officer David Kuehnle and property maintenance officer Richard Cancelino in submitting the names to the newspaper. The chief said he would be happy to work them in developing the list.
Ainsworth said he had asked the board to consider publishing the names and addresses of repeat codes violators before, and asked again after the trustees were approached by a homeowner concerned with the current state of Pleasant Avenue on the village’s South Side.
Harriet Tangorra on Monday evening said portions of the street are “disgusting” and “terrible,” with lawns full of garbage, junk, mattresses and overgrown lawns, shrubs and trees.
“At one time it was one of the best neighborhoods to live in. It’s a shame to see what has become of the street,” said Tangorra, who owns rental properties on Pleasant Avenue. “I feel sorry for the people who take care of their homes. The village needs to do something to make it look nice again.”
With codes violations in other neighborhoods, resident Tina Cirelli said the mayor and village board should consider conducting “Quality of Life” sweeps. In Utica, Mayor Robert Palmieri, department heads, Department of Public Works laborers and members of the city fire and police departments go through neighborhoods to check out problems, find solutions and field concerns from residents.
“Instead of waiting for the residents to come to you, you can go to them,” said Cirelli. “It’s a way to reach out to people and learn about what is going on in their neighborhood.”
Trustee Harold Stoffolano said the codes department would respond to Pleasant Avenue to “get a handle on the situation” and issue citations to homeowners and landlords, if they are warranted.