Thursday, October 13, 2011

RIVERDALE FORECLOSURE: Riverdale to put liens on foreclosed eyesores to pay for cleanup -


The front yard used to have a nice, green lawn. Now it's just a barren patch of weeds and dirt. Neighbors, fed up with weeds that grew several feet high finally mowed it down.

No one will touch the backyard, where sod has grown several feet high. A satellite dish lays discarded by the back deck. A couch has sat in the elements for so long, it stinks. The owners moved out a year-and-a-half ago when the home was foreclosed on.

"The people walked away from it," Riverdale City Administrator Larry Hansen said as he showed us around. "This used to be grass."

All over the city, in just about every development, sits vacant foreclosed homes. The city is now cracking down on the abandoned homes, by putting liens on the properties in an effort to force the banks to take care of them.

"We call it a nuisance because it is a threat to health, safety and welfare," Hansen said. "Frankly, with an unresponsive owner of record -- whether they've abandoned it or it's in the process of foreclosure -- we as a city have had enough of this."

Under modified nuisance ordinances passed by the Riverdale City Council, the city will pay for clean up to vacant, foreclosed properties. It will then place a lien on the property in an effort to ensure the bank (which owns the property) pays for the costs before it is sold. The city will also shut off water access, prohibiting anyone from moving in until the lien is taken care of.

"If they don't want to respond to us, that's fine," Hansen said. "They don't need to respond to us. Someday they're going to want to sell this property, and when they do, there's a reckoning."

A new survey put out Thursday by the industry group RealtyTrac said Utah is sixth in the nation for foreclosures. According to filings, one in every 408 homes in Utah in September entered into foreclosure. Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit, Iron and Washington counties ranked the highest for foreclosures.

Neighbors in Riverdale, who have grown frustrated by the blight next door, said they have tried to keep the properties clean. Many have mowed down the weeds, which quickly return.

"It is so annoying," said Tiffani Hansen.

Daivd Price, who lives across the street from another home that has been vacant for months, said it is affecting his property value.

"It's a good neighborhood," he said. "We have great neighbors, but definitely something like that tends to make people driving through think twice."


CNN Money ranks Logan No. 22 in nation for jobs - USU Statesman - Utah State University

Cache County was recently listed as the 22nd best place in the U.S. to find a job, according to a a piece published in CNN Money.

In truth, however, the local job market is only slightly less dismal than the rest of the country, said economics Professor Randy T. Simmons.

"CNN is just looking at U.S. Census numbers," Simmons said. "Yes, there are more jobs here in 2010 than there were in 2000, but there are also more people."

According to Utah's Department of Workforce Services, jobs may have increased in Utah, but unemployment has as well. The state average was around three percent in 2000 but is closer to eight percent today. Cache County hovers just below the state average at about five percent.

The CNN article lists the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative as one of the key components in local job growth. According to Simmons, however, USTAR is not one of the major employers in Cache Valley. CNN also listed employers not in the county as critical to job growth here.

"CNN got some of their information confused," said Jacoba M. Poppleton, USTAR public relations specialist. "The Bingham Entrepreneurship and Energy Research Center is actually in Vernal, not in Logan."

CNN also listed Utah County as the eighth best area for "where the jobs are," yet Utah County's unemployment rate is currently at 7.5 percent — higher than Cache County, according to the UDWS.

"CNN's analysis is very superficial," Simmons said.


The Unpromising Job Market


The job market in Logan is in a sad state of affairs, but it's better off than the rest of the nation, said James Feigenbaum, assistant professor of economics.

"Cache Valley — and Utah — seem to be in a better spot than, say, California or New York," he said. "In a lot of states there have been promises to public employees to grant huge pensions, and Utah does not have such an overpaid public sector. Looking forward, I'd say Utah is slightly better off."

The local capitalist spirit and the young, optimistic students who are eager to work seem to offset the recession slightly, Feigenbaum said.

The more free market approach to business regulation also helps keep the local economy above the water line, Simmons said.

"The cost of government here is low compared to other places. The local government tends to stay out of business, rather than picking winners and losers as they do elsewhere," Simmons said. "Utah's ranked No. 1 or No. 2 economically, and I think it's because we have limited but effective government involvement."

Despite Cache Valley being better off than other places, we are far from trouble free, Simmons said.

"Officially the recession bottomed in 2009, but we haven't had much recovery since then — it's far from over," he said. "I am the former mayor of Providence, and I can tell you that for realtors, builders and everyone else it's been a tough three years. The only homes that are selling are in the low-end market."

Statewide, Utah had one foreclosure for every 450 properties, said economics and finance Professor Benjamin Blau. Cache County only had one foreclosure for every 1,056 properties.

"We face greater uncertainty now than we have since the Great Depression," Feigenbaum said, "It's not just part of the business cycle. It's a demographic shift. There are more old people, and there is going to be a painful transition in the near future."

There have been many layoffs in Cache County since 2008, according to Simmons, who said ATK, Malt-O-Meal and Autoliv all recently made cuts. However, he said, the area did not crash quite as hard as other areas because of less government intervention and business diversity.

"We have a broad academic and industrial base," Feigenbaum said. "The university employs a lot of people, but we also have a more varied set of businesses and industries than most college towns this size."


Seeking Help


Director of the Cache Community Food Pantry Matt Whitaker said more people in Cache Country are requesting aid than ever before.

"I chuckle when I hear politicians say the recession is over," Whittaker said. "The number of people coming (to the food pantry) has been trickling higher and higher."

Wayne Jolley, a Logan resident, is one of those who depends on the food pantry for survival.

"Without their help I wouldn't have any way to get dinner for my family," he said. He said he is a father of five.

document write

"); var totalSize = 4 - 1; //if( nextPage Next »"); 12  next>>Next »

Be the first to comment on this article!

refresh -->