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New bureau could speed up property code enforcement in Syracuse

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner in 2015, standing in front of an abandoned home on the city's west side.

The city of Syracuse could soon be speeding up its process of code enforcement of property owners. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation allowing Syracuse to create a new municipal violations bureau.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said if the Syracuse Common Council cooperates, the city could have the bureau up and running this year.

"It's been my experience that I tend to be very ambitious with what I think can be accomplished," Miner said. "I think we will get the lion's share of it done."

The bureau would circumvent the courts in handling code violators.

“Instead of using the court system to go through your code violation, we’re going to have our own in-house entity," Miner said. "That’s how Rochester handles it. It allows you to be much more efficient, much more effective and proactive in working with property owners."

That’s because going through the courts to handle code violations is a long procedure that can take over a year to resolve. The city’s own municipal violations bureau could collect fines much faster; acting similarly to the city's parking violations bureau. Accused code violators could still appeal any decisions and take the matter to court.

Miner said the bureau would be a part of the city’s finance department and would need two new staff hires and possibly more in the future.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.