City wants to set code violation fines at $100.00 per day, per violation

The Miner Administration wants to raise the fine for housing code violations from the current $10.00 to $100.00 per day, per violation.

Last year the Codes Enforcement office cited 4,300 different properties for code violations, yet many property owners and landlords fail to comply. This year city hall wants to try something new by increasing the fines to $100 per day per violation in hopes of convincing people to fix up their properties. Codes Enforcement Director Ken Towlsey told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "We believe that a stiffer fine for not complying with our codes will lead to stronger compliance throughout the city."

Syracuse United Neighbors conducted a six month study of code violations and how they're handed in City Housing Court. Executive Director Rich Puchalski says the system is overwhelmed.

SUN recommends among other things:

-- the city hire 4 full time housing attorneys

--hold weekly instead of monthly housing court sessions

--jail time for those who refuse to comply.

Puchalski says increasing fines won't work, "Increasing the fines from $10.00 to $100.00 per violation, per day is not going to result in correcting the ills of our housing."{>}

Syracuse Common Councilor Jean Kessner has not yet decided. She says she is unsure if higher fines will convince bad landlords to change their ways. "What people say is they don't care about a $10.00 fine, they're not going to care about a $100.00 fine."

On Thursday, the Common Council will hold a committee meeting at 1:00 to hear more about the idea of raising the code violation fine.