BlightStat 37

by Charlie London

The Landrieu administration currently has a goal
of removing 10,000 “units” of blight in 4 years.
Units are individual apartments/condos or lots with blight.

Much of the precipitous drop in blight since 2005 has been individual homeowners refurbishing their homes. The City has instituted a much lauded BlightStat program that has done a tremendous job with few resources.

And, there is where the problem is… few resources. When crime is rampant, infrastructure is crumbling and the city struggles to keep the streetlights working, should blighted properties be a main emphasis where significant resources are allocated?

If so, are you willing to pay more taxes to make that happen? I am. I’d like to suggest a specific blight tax be implemented to help get blight removed from New Orleans. And, with that increased tax, I’d like to see an ordinance passed that says something like, “any property blighted since 2005 will have action taken on it by the City of New Orleans, regardless.” This would include blighted property that has people living in it. Why? Because 7 years is long enough for anyone to decide what to do with their property. Blight is holding back New Orleans. Blight contributes to crime and scares off potential investors… those investors bring jobs.

While the the city’s goal of removing 10,000 blighted properties in 4 years is laudable, the chart above shows over 35,000 properties that still need attention. You do the math.
10,000 blighted properties removed in 4 years. 35,000 total…

That means it will be 15 to 20 years before the CURRENT inventory of blighted properties is removed. Meanwhile, future hurricanes and irresponsible owners will contribute further to the number of blighted properties in New Orleans.

So, do we ignore the problem and complain that the city isn’t doing enough or do we step up and demand that a Blight tax be implemented and that it be spent specifically on blight reduction?

And, how ’bout an ordinance that makes it easier for the city to rid New Orleans of blight? Is it fair for the responsible citizen to live next to blight just because? How long should the irresponsible owner be given to do something about their blighted property… 7, 10, 20 years?
I don’t think so.

Quite frankly, the city is doing the best they can with what they’ve got. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough manpower to get the job done… specifically on the legal end. Click here to read my thoughts about this in a previous BlightStat report. The city can get the properties inspected timely but the adjudication process is slow and laborious. Yes, we should protect the owner’s property rights. But, how long should property owners be allowed to affect your quality of life… 7, 10, 20 years? I don’t think so.

In the link below please find the city’s latest presentation on blight reduction in New Orleans:

A PDF of the City’s September 13, 2012 BLIGHTSTAT presentation.

Click on the chart above or visit the link below to view the Greater New Orleans Data Center’ report on the progress of the BLIGHT fight in New Orleans:

The Greater New Orleans Data Center’s Report on Blight in New Orleans.