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Claremont considers creating blight reduction fund

Union Leader Correspondent

March 22. 2018 8:54PM

CLAREMONT — A proposed fund that would clean up blighted properties in Claremont is coming before the City Council next week.

“The purpose of this is to be proactive in reducing the blight and the ugliness and the hazards in our community,” City Manager Ryan McNutt said Thursday. “We believe in neighborhood improvement through code enforcement.”

An abandoned house can pose safety and health hazards as well as reduce the value of abutting properties, McNutt said. The city also wants to clean up any blighted properties in prominent areas of the city such as the gateways of Claremont, he said.

Money for the fund would come from the revenue the city receives from the sale of tax-deeded-properties. McNutt said city officials are currently compiling a list of properties and prioritizing them as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing blight.

McNutt said that most property owners who fall behind on their property taxes enter into a payment plan with the city and the city only takes properties through tax deed after non-payment of three years.

McNutt said a typical project for the fund would be one the city is currently undertaking, a 2018 plan to demolish three tax-deeded properties. The cost of the project is $82,000.

Once established the fund would begin accruing revenue. Between 2014 and 2018 the city has made about $325,000 from the sale of 17 tax-deeded-properties.

“We’re not talking huge amounts of money,” he said.

However, based on what is in the fund the city could plan blight reduction projects without impacting the tax rate, McNutt said.

McNutt said some city councilors have proposed capping the fund at $200,000.

The City Council plans to meet on Wednesday to discuss the non-capital reserve fund for code enforcement.

Claremont Local and County Government

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