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Port Jervis ups abandoned building fees

By Fritz Mayer
June 18, 2014

PORT JERVIS, NY — There are some 155 vacant or abandoned buildings in Port Jervis, which represents about one out of every 15 buildings in the city. To combat the problem, in May the Port Jervis Common Council passed a new law that requires the owners or mortgagees of buildings that become vacant or abandoned to take a number of steps.

The law requires for instance that the building is secure against animals, humans and the weather, the lawn must be mowed and the owner or the institution that is foreclosing on the property must designate a person or business with an address in Orange County to be responsible for maintenance of the building.

But, perhaps most importantly, the owner or mortgagee of the building must register and provide detailed information to the city, and the registration fee has just been raised.

At a meeting on June 9, common council members voted to raise the initial fee from $250 to $1,200 for the first year of the vacancy or abandonment. If the vacancy goes into a second year the fee jumps to $2,200, and escalates as the year progress to year nine, with the fee climbing to $10,200. The city also reserves the right to charge interest on any fees the go unpaid.

Mayor Kelly Decker explained that the fees would cover the cost of registering the property and the cost of sending any city employees out to the property for various reasons.

Council member Stanley Siegel said, “The whole idea is that maybe it will get done very quickly instead of waiting and waiting for it to increase to that kind of money.”

Siegel also said there were 102 notices of violation issued by the building department in the month of May, “which means we’re very serious about cleaning up the city.”

Congressional office hours

Mayor Decker told the council that he recently had a meeting with Congressman Sean Maloney. Decker said, “I hate to be the step child, that’s why when I grab your ear I’m going to talk it off. I said, you have all these satellite offices but there’s not satellite office here in Port Jervis.”

He said that residents of the city have a lot of issues with Social Security, the Internal Revenue Service, Medicare and Medicaid and veterans issues.

After a bit of back and forth, Maloney agreed to have one of his staff members visit the city hall twice a month on the second and fourth Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The sessions will be held in Decker’s conference room.

Crime rankings of local villages as provided by

Liberty: 483.1
Monticello: 396.5
Port Jervis: 283.0
Ellenville: 236.2
Fallsburg: 154.0
Honesdale: 143.8
Woodridge: 72.8
Hawley: 43.0

The numbers indicate the crime rate per population of 100,000.