Meyer Administration initiative reduces number of vacant properties by 30%, collects over $1 million in delinquent taxes and fees
New Castle, DE – County Executive Matt Meyer announced today that New Castle County’s Vacant Spaces to Livable Places initiative has reduced the number of vacant properties by 30 percent and over the past year has collected more than $1 million in delinquent taxes and fees owed by owners of vacant and abandoned properties. These achievements are highlighted in the 2018 Vacant Spaces to Livable Places Annual Report, available online at https://newcastlede.gov/1762/Vacant-Spaces.
“Vacant and abandoned properties harm communities, drive down property values and impose financial costs on local government,” County Executive Meyer said. "That's why early in my administration we launched a comprehensive strategy to turn these eyesores into occupied homes that strengthen communities and drive higher quality of life. I’m proud that this effort has delivered results by moving 400 vacant spaces toward livable places and collected more than $1 million for taxpayers. Thanks to new and effective collaboration across county government, determined enforcement action and strong support from state and county partners we will continue to aggressively build on this progress.”
Over the past decade the number of vacant and abandoned properties across the county steadily increased, surpassing 1,300 properties by January 2017 that were being monitored or maintained by county government. These properties attract crime, become dumping grounds for waste and are targets for arson. They also drive costs for county taxpayers, diverting resources as local government is forced to pay for maintenance, grass mowing and waste removal. Additionally, vacant and abandoned properties have been shown to depress neighborhood property values and they reduce tax revenue needed for critical public services.
“Our residents are concerned about the impact of vacant and abandoned housing on their neighborhoods and we as elected officials share that concern,” said County Councilman Penrose Hollins, Co-Chair of County Council’s Community Services Committee and champion of legislation to strengthen vacant housing efforts. “I applaud County Executive Meyer and his team for developing our first-ever comprehensive plan to tackle vacant housing and I’m encouraged by the success they’ve experienced in partnership with local, county and state officials.
“There is no question that vacant housing contributes to both crime and decreases in property values,” said County Councilwoman Lisa Diller, Co-Chair of County Council’s Community Services Committee and champion of legislation to strengthen vacant housing efforts. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Vacant Housing Working Group, New Castle County has made great strides in combating neighborhood blight and I strongly support the continuation of its successful work.”
In early 2017, County Executive Meyer launched the County’s Vacant Spaces to Livable Places initiative, guided by the most comprehensive strategy in county history to tackle this pressing challenge. The strategy consisted of four major components:
By 2018, with additional county and state laws in hand, the county formalized a process to regularly review the county's stock of vacant and abandoned housing and began moving the most egregious cases -- those with the highest delinquent taxes and sewer and code enforcement fees and those driving public safety calls for service -- towards Sheriff’s Sale. This effort produced dramatic results for county residents.
Highlights of successes
Click HERE to read a one page summary of the report online.
Click HERE to read the full report online.
Contact: Jason Miller, Director of Communications, 302-545-1462