Residents in New Britain will tell you, blight is rampant in their city. Take a drive down South Main Street and you’ll find several blighted properties covered in graffiti, broken glass, and overgrown grass.
Right now, Democrats and Republicans have two very different plans to clean up city streets. Republicans want to scrap the city’s current anti-blight ordinance and replace it with one that applies tax liens against properties that do not meet building and health codes. The idea appropriately nicknames the “clean and lien” concept.
“We’re trying to make the thing more streamlined so we don’t get caught up in housing court which can sometimes last for years,” said Alderman Louis Salvio of New Britain.
Democrats call the Republican’s proposal ineffective and blame blight on a lack of enforcement. As it is written, the ordinance imposes fines and threatens lawsuits against property owners.
“The main part of what they’re doing is gutting the anti-blight ordinance. It will harm taxpayers, it will harm neighborhoods and make it easier for the slumlords in the community,” said Rep. Tim O’Brien of New Britain.
Many residents say they are tired of the political back and forth and want some answers instead of more scuffling.
“The taxpayers of New Britain find the constant bickering disgusting!” said Helen Roman of New Britain.
The Republican’s anti-blight proposal now heads to committee and will go back before the common council sometime next month.