MASSENA - Village officials are expected to continue discussing adding another weapon to their arsenal in their effort to battle quality of life issues in neighborhoods throughout the community.
The mayor expects village officials will discuss a proposed public nuisance law at their meeting at 5:30 p.m. tonight.
At the villages Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, Mayor James F. Hidy presented the board with information on a local law used by the city of Rome. If a public nuisance like the sale of illegal drugs or firearms, gang activity or assaults occur at a property more than once, the village could issue a court summons under the law for civil action.
I think its needed to deal with issues of blight and more importantly, with issues of (illegal) drugs, Mr. Hidy said. We mean business, and if theres any illegal activity going on in the premise of their building, they should tell us about it. They have to be responsible and rent to law-abiding people.
If the buildings tenants or owner are found responsible for the continuing problems at the property, they could be fined. If the problems continue, the village could then issue a permanent injunction and control the building until the problems stop or are solved, Police Chief Timmy J. Currier said.
Mr. Hidy expects some of the conversation will include Village Attorney Matthew H. McArdle regarding the legality of various aspects of the public nuisance law. However, Mr. Hidy said he didnt expect to see any major changes in the law.
Mr. Currier distributed information on the law to village board members last Octobe, and since that time the Massena Village Police Department has been reviewing the law, according to Mr. Hidy.
Mr. Hidy says State Senator Joseph A. Griffo utilized the laws successfully to improve life in Rome while he was mayor of that city. (Mr. Griffo) had implemented this while he was mayor of Rome, and he said it helped out tremendously, according to Massenas mayor. It helped address drug activity and made landlords more attentive to who they are leasing to.
Village trustees have expressed support for the law, saying it could be a solution to the significant issues of crime and blighted properties in the village.
Theres not a neighborhood at this point in our community that doesnt have one of these (properties) that they can cite right now, Trustee Patricia K. Trish Wilson said previously. So I think its a great thing to look at as a solution.
Mr. Hidy also feels that with efforts to renovate downtown buildings to begin later this yea, stricter laws on blighted properties are more important now than ever. If people are being counter-productive to what were trying to do, it becomes necessary to take action, Mr. Hidy said. Its not fair to the people who are trying to fix up downtown. (Repairs to fix code violations) have got to be done in a timely manner.
Mr. Hidy stressed that he tries to be fair to persons living below the poverty line, but said poverty is not an excuse for blight. You still have to live clean, he said.