WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The City of West Palm Beach will attempt to recover the more than $122,000 it has spent to clean up abandoned, vacant and nuisance properties by including the costs on the property owner's property tax bill.
The city has boarded up doors and windows, mowed overgrown grass and collected piles of trash at hundreds of homes after property owners ignored requests to do it themselves.
"The property owners have a legal and moral obligation to maintain their properties," Mayor Jeri Muoio said. "If they ignore those obligations, it falls to us to ensure these properties don't pose a risk to our residents."
The city currently uses a lien process to recover the costs.
"A property owner is much less likely to ignore his tax bill than he is to ignore a citation for a code violation that he might get from the city," said Elliot Cohen, a City of West Palm Beach spokesperson. "If it's your neighborhood, you don't want to have to look at this eyesore where the grass is growing and the garbage is accumulating [and] tires are piled up."
Earlier this year , Palm Beach County commissioners allowed the county's Code Enforcement Division to eliminate a nuisance property and send the property owner a bill.
The will bill appear on a property owner's next property tax bill if it is not paid.
"It's good for us [and] it's good for our children," said Elysse Jean, a West Palm Beach Resident. "If it's dirty and [full of] trash everybody feel bad."