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Mayor Addresses Blighted Properties

COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Kate Liebers) -- Mayor Michael Coleman announced his goal to address neighborhood blight as he rolled out his proposed budget plan to city council Friday.

The plan entails adding eight new code enforcement officers to address property owners who do not care for their places. Coleman said blighted houses are dangerous to the neighborhood and attracting everything from drug dealers to pests.

Christian Hogenbrik, who makes a living restoring masonry and making homes look better, supports the mayor's plan.

"It could be a lot of trouble, especially with animal infestation," Hogenbrik said.

Coleman said he would continue efforts to remove graffiti, trash and junk from neighborhoods. He also plans to change laws that would increase penalties for landlords who ignore warnings to bring their property up to code.

"If you don't do right by the community, then you need to be held responsible and potentially go to jail," Coleman said.

The mayor told council members and the media that he wants code enforcement officers to go after property owners hiding under a corporate veil.

Coleman said the neighborhoods are the backbone of the city, and he plans to give workers more tools and technology to track the problems.
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