Hartford wants to help residents who own blighted houses

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HARTFORD --Drive around Hartford long enough and you may run across houses that don't seem up to par.

Blighted properties are an issue throughout the city that's getting noticed by Mayor Luke Bronin. He held a town hall Wednesday night to tell homeowners about a new ordinance aimed to assist those with blighted houses.

The ordinance would repeal the city's special assessment which was a tax bill for homeowners with blighted houses. City leaders say the tax left residents with tough options.

"Should I pay this tax bill to avoid having that happen to me again or do I fix the problem that caused me to incur this extra tax," asks Laura Settlemyer, Hartford's Blight Remediation Director.

She said the city also plans to broaden the term "blight" to include graffiti, garbage left in front of homes and other property maintenance issues. The fines collected from those infractions will be used to improve the city's neighborhoods.

Settlemyer said the new ordinance is already in effect. The house work will begin to take place around the city this summer.