© Village of Sloan, NY
From Trustee Susan Tofthagen
I would like to sincerely thank everyone who supported my campaign and voted in the Village Election on March 21st. As your new Trustee, our Mayor Ferrucci has assigned me as the Board liaison to the Department of Code Enforcement. I have been meeting with Vincent Ferraraccio, the Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), to familiarize myself with his duties. On Tuesday, June 6th, we both attended a Zoom meeting with the Erie County Zombie Foreclosure Tax Force. As expected, Western New York is facing an increase in foreclosures in the aftermath of the Covid crises. If you are experiencing a hardship and are behind in your mortgage, there are some options available to you through loan modifications or a repayment plan with your bank. For FREE legal assistance, contact the Western New York Law Center at (716)855-0203. Additional information on your rights as an owner can be found at stayinyourhomewny.com. The Village currently has nineteen housing court cases pending with the Town of Cheektowaga. Complaints are referred to the Town for criminal prosecution only after repeated Letters of Violation have been mailed to the property owner. Court referrals are the last resort of a Code Enforcement Officer after non-compliance by the owner(s). Last year, the Village began Phase 1 of New York State mandated inspections of all residential properties that are three-family or more (Multi-Dwellings). In the next month, our CEO will be mailing letters to all owners scheduled in Phase 2, requesting a completed application for the required Certificate of Occupancy update. Once received and the fee paid, we will schedule an appointment to inspect all units for code compliance. Vacant or abandoned homes plague every community and are not only an eyesore for neighborhoods, they bring down property values, attract rodents and negatively impact our quality of life. Since being on the Board, we have approved our own Highway Department to cut the front lawns at eight abandoned properties. We are currently working with BENLIC, the land bank, to obtain ownership of several properties that are years behind in their property taxes. The partnership with BENLIC has been beneficial to our Village as they have rehabilitated numerous houses, helped us demolish several structures and obtain lots for sale to neighbors. All in all, I was surprised at the variety of issues being handled by our CEO and the avenues available to us for enforcement. The partnerships with the Erie County Clerk’s Office and the Land Bank greatly benefit us to combat Zombies and property maintenance issues.