Logan Looking to Rehabilitate Abandoned Properties

logan twpby Robert Holt

BRIDGEPORT – During their meeting on Aug. 18, the Logan Township Council discussed the progress of the community’s abandoned homes and vacant properties projects. Mayor Frank Minor says Logan currently lists 35 to 40 vacated properties within the township.

Minor says Logan catalogs the properties and puts them on a list, but the township is unable to enter another person’s property to make repairs. Solicitor Brian Duffield reported that Logan has learned the names of some of the property owners from old tax records.

“The ones we have located receive 30 day notices to repair their property,” Duffield explained. “The next step would be to send violation notices to the people who have walked away from their properties.”

“We’re even putting the lenders on notice as well as the owners,” Duffield added.

“The banks have no incentive to fix up the properties,” Minor commented. “They figure that they pay the taxes, and that’s enough.”

“We have this problem in other towns also,” observed Councilmember Chris Morris. “It’s very unfortunate.”

Minor pointed out that Logan has police patrolling the properties, and making sure they are not vandalized. Minor said the community was taking an aggressive approach to its abandoned properties program based on the law.

“The bottom line is that any property owner who has walked away is not in the position to make repairs on their property,” Minor concluded. Duffield noted that fines for violations could run as high as $2,000 a day.

In resolutions, the Council accepted and approved corrective action plans for its 2014 audit. Councilmember Stephen Dougherty thanked CFO Robert Best and the finance team for putting together the information.

“We almost had the perfect audit,” Dougherty said. “It was recommended that we review delinquent tax balances dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.”

Other approved resolutions appointed Geraldine Buckley as a Logan crossing guard, and named Kenneth Seelig to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Earlier, Council introduced an ordinance on its first reading that would authorize the purchase of Public Works equipment for $75,000. Another ordinance that was introduced would allow the purchase of fire and police equipment for Logan Township, costing $75,000.

Public hearings on both matters were scheduled for Sept. 15.

In new business, Council accepted a letter of intent to retire from Construction Official Charles Bastow. Bastow worked 24 years in the Construction Office.

Council later accepted a letter of resignation from Zoning Board Member Reginald Hall, along with a membership application from Jordan Redmond to become a Junior Firefighter for the Township Volunteer Fire Company.

They also accepted the donation of a vehicle to be used by the Logan Township Police Department.

In Public Works, Superintendent Mike Riley reported that his department had begun the Township Line Park mulch project, and were working on storm drains and inlets.

Elsewhere, regarding bus shelters scheduled to be built at Center Square Road and Beckett Road, Dougherty reported that he was expecting to hear from New Jersey Transit shortly about when installation would proceed.

And Deputy Mayor Doris Hall promoted Logan Day, set for Oct. 3, and reached out for more volunteers.

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