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020414 js 0450rSPRINGFIELD – The Senate today passed legislation out of its chamber that allows counties to recoup the cost they spend on taking care of neglected and abandoned properties.

Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) recently discovered that unlike cities, townships and other municipalities, counties are currently unable to recover the money they put into maintenance and demolition of properties and structures in the interest of public safety. For Lake County, that has meant more than $135,000 in safety maintenance costs over the past few years that the county has been powerless to reclaim.

“Counties should not be left holding the bag because a property owner decides they no longer want to take adequate care of their property,” Bush said.

Structures that are deemed unsafe or open to intrusion can become public safety threats to children, and campgrounds for illegal activity. Current law disinscentivizes counties from maintaining safety standards on abandoned properties because they are not reimbursed for doing so. Senator Bush’s proposal suggests that when a tax sale is made, the buyer must pay back the demolition or rehabilitation costs incurred by the county in the interest of public safety.

“Cities and towns have always been awarded this right, but counties have not,” Senator Bush said.  “This plan simply gives counties the same ability as other municipalities to reclaim the funds that they’ve previously invested in keeping citizens safe.”

In the last 5 years, Lake County has handled over 100 cases of property neglect that violated public safety ordinances. Most of those cases were resolved with the property owners; however the county had to foot the bill for 11 instances of demolition.

Senate Bill 2677 will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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Springfield Office:
218 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-7353

District Office:
10 N. Lake St., Suite 112
Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: (847) 548-5631