Hello again, everyone! I hope you all are enjoying this summer either working, taking summer classes, interning, or just enjoying a well deserved break from the world. So, in my last post I stated that I’m doing an internship with Dr. Greg Rabb, the president of the city council in Jamestown. Dr. Rabb is also the political science and business law professor at Jamestown Community College and my mentor.
One of the parts of my internship is to sit in on city council meetings. They have some similarity to what I’ve experienced both in student government and in the SUNY Model European Union simulation on how meetings are run and how decisions are made. In the meetings, the council is divided into committees: Public Safety, Public Works, Housing, and the one that I sit on, the Finance Committee. These committees are similar to those in Student Senate. In these meetings the council members reach consensus on issues and then offer a public vote during a voting session. Any resident of Jamestown can attend these sessions and voice any questions or concerns they have.
One of the recent votes was whether the city council supports the New York State Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2014. This bill is designed to help out local New York governments with “zombie properties.”
Zombie properties are properties that a bank or lending institution has filed an intent to foreclose on. The property owners see that intent to foreclose, then vacate the property. The problem is that the banks do not always end up actually foreclosing on all of these properties. Since the owners have left the properties, they stand vacant and untended, becoming eyesores for the neighborhood and a magnet for criminal activity. This problem exists across the nation; the local governments are primarily in favor of action against these properties, but the banks do not agree.
This issue will be the focus of my internship. I aim to find out why people either support or are against the New York State Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2014.
Here is a nice YouTube video to give you more of an idea on what zombie properties are and why they are a problem.
Be swell everyone, and don’t let the zombie properties get you, haha.