Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. announced today that, over the past 21 months, East Haven has ramped up both blight enforcement and tax collection efforts town-wide, helping to clean up the community and bring over $1.1 million dollars of additional revenue into the Town's coffers.
Maturo explained, "Thanks to the efforts of both our zoning and legal services departments in conjunction with our "Code Enforcement Committee," we've been able to resolve hundreds of tax delinquency and code enforcement matters. In pursuing the Town's most serious blight offenders and tax scofflaws, we've used our statutory lien and foreclosure powers to both clean up properties and collect on blight and tax liens to the tune of over $1.1 million dollars in the last twenty-one months alone."
According to Maturo, the Town has liened over twenty of the most seriously blighted properties across Town since January 1, 2017, with initial liens totaling over $244,000.00 dollars in fines. With fines accruing at $100.00 dollars per day in some cases, some liens currently total over $20,000.00 dollars. In cases where owners or large banks have not cooperated to clean up the properties, the Town has imitated foreclosure actions to acquire the properties and clean them up.
Maturo continued, "Property maintenance is an important quality of life issue for our residents. We receive calls daily about high grass, unregistered vehicles, and other blight issues. Most offenders voluntarily comply after Town intervention. Foreclosure is a last resort in both blight and delinquency situations. However, it is a necessary one when absentee owners, large banks, or repeat tax scofflaws fail to maintain their properties and pay their fair share."
In addition to collecting hefty fines on serious blight matters, Town records also indicate that in the last fiscal year, the Town collected over $861,387.00 dollars in delinquent real estate taxes - beating it's projected collection figure of $665,000.00 dollars by an impressive 29.53%.
Maturo noted, "In conjunction with the Town Attorney's office, we've acted to intervene earlier in cases of tax delinquency, nipping a lot more cases in the bud before they become serious delinquency matters. In serious matters, we've moved swiftly to foreclose."
Town Attorney Joseph Zullo added, "In a recent case, the Town recovered over $85,000.00 dollars in delinquent taxes which had accumulated since 2008. In that case, the taxpayer utilized five bankruptcies to delay and frustrate the Town's collection efforts. In the end, the Town was successful in taking the property, which was recently sold to a neighbor, who plans to rehabilitate and live in the property."
Maturo concluded, "Moving forward, the Town will remain vigilant in its efforts to crack down on both blight offenders and tax scofflaws. We expect property owners to maintain their properties for the benefit of their neighbors and to pay their fair share for the benefit of the entire community. When they don't, we will continue to use our best efforts to hold them accountable so we can keep our community a beautiful, safe, affordable place to live, work, and raise a family."