DADE CITY — Officials are ready to take action against the city's unsightly foreclosed properties.
City commissioners adopted three ordinances Tuesday evening giving the city access to unkempt, foreclosed properties to clean them up, tear down unsafe structures and charge the costs to the property owners.
The city has 31 foreclosed homes and lots, and residents have complained about tall weeds, trash, debris and stagnant water accumulating on abandoned areas.
Dade City Commissioner Camille Hernandez raised the issue months ago, saying some abandoned homes with pools were breeding grounds for rodents and mosquitoes, which pose a threat to public health and safety.
"I think we're doing the right thing to clean (abandoned property) up because of the rodents and the tall grass is almost as tall as the building. It just looks bad," said Dade City Commissioner Eunice Penix.
The city will dispatch lawn maintenance and demolition companies as early as Tuesday. The cleanup costs will be billed to the property owner, and if the bill goes unpaid for three years, the property can be auctioned off to pay the charges.
Dade City Attorney Karla Owens said the ordinances are similar to measures that have worked in Fort Meade.
"I'm hoping that (this) will give us a better financial handle," Owens said Wednesday. "(Dade City has) to pay for the mowing and the maintenance up-front. But this (ordinance) will allow us to recoup."