Massena trustees want landlords to register properties as measure to fight blight
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 8:54 pm


MASSENA -- The village board on Tuesday evening discussed starting a registry of rental properties in the village but several of its members said they want it to be a list and not a licensing program.

“If we’re just talking registry there are a lot of great examples out there that allow us to collect the information we need,” Deputy Mayor Matt Lebire said, adding that he thinks if it crossed into licensing it would be “government overreach.”

“Get it so we know where the rental properties are, I believe the building inspectors have numerous calls from people renting and they have a tough time finding who actually owns the place,” Trustee Francis Carvel said. “There’s a lot of landlords that don’t live in the area.”

Trustee Albert Deshaies called the idea of a registry “ridiculous.”

“You’ve got a tax assessor here, he sends out the tax bills … this is ridiculous,” Deshaies said.

“Sometimes they’re LLCs or different owners,” Carvel said.

“Someone’s paying the taxes,” Deshaies said.

“They are paying taxes but the thing is finding the person who’s going to take care of the problems,” Carvel said.

Mayor Tim Currier said he thinks the registry, which Lebire had suggested should be no charge to landlords, would go a long way to combatting blight.

“We have one piece of property we’ve been dealing with,” Mayor Tim Currier said. “The person who owns the building gave a government address and a government phone nubmer. We can’t find him.”

Although he didn’t directly say the address in question, he made clear that he was talking about 104 East Orvis St., which was destroyed in a November 2016 fire. The burnt out remnants remain an eyesore today.

“We’re going to deal with the problem of blight … there is no one solution to blighted property … a rental registry could be a piece of that. There are properties in this community we’re never going to solve. We’ve got to get rid of them. We’ve got to stop it from happening in the first place,” the mayor said. “It has nothing to do with the good landlords or good people in this community .. it’s a frustrating cycle we continue to deal with.

“We spend 90 percent of our time on 10 percent of our population, and that’s unfortunate.”