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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Dayton Offers Code Enforcement Amnesty Program This Summer

Dayton, KY, city council approved a Code Enforcement Amnesty Program to allow owners of blighted properties to clean them up before a higher tax rate will be imposed in fall.

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The Dayton city council has approved a Code Enforcement Amnesty Program to encourage property owners with outstanding code-enforcement violations to clean up their properties this summer or face redoubled code-enforcement efforts this fall.

Under the new program, Dayton property owners with code-enforcement citations issued prior to May 4, 2021, will have until July 31, 2021, to bring these properties into compliance with the city ordinances. Property owners actively involved in making repairs to these properties this summer may request a three-month extension until October 31, 2021, to finish the repairs.

If these properties are repaired within this timeframe, the city will waive past code-enforcement fines accrued on the property. However, the city will not waive charges for grass-cutting, boarding-up properties or other out-of-pocket expenses it has incurred to maintain or secure these properties.

"At our recent strategic planning session, city council made it very clear that addressing vacant and blighted properties is one of its top priorities," said Dayton City Administrator Jay Fossett. "The amnesty program is designed to encourage people who own problem properties in the city to make needed repairs this summer or face increased scrutiny by the city in the future, including the placement of code-enforcement liens on the properties that are in violation of building, fire, and property-maintenance codes."

On Monday night, the city’s Code Enforcement Board, acting as the Vacant Property Review Commission, identified more than 50 different properties in Dayton as abandoned and blighted urban properties within the city.

As a result of this finding, the city will send letters to these property owners by July 1 advising them of this classification and that these properties now will be taxed at a new property tax rate of $0.75 on each $100 of assessed value, which is about double the city’s regular property tax rate.

Fossett said that the city has been beefing up its code enforcement ordinances and regulations in recent weeks, including the creation of a Top 10 List of abandoned and blighted properties in the city and changes to its code-enforcement ordinances. He said the city will be cracking down on vacant and blighted properties in the coming months and years.

"Owning real estate is similar to having children — it’s an important responsibility that people cannot simply ignore," Fossett said. "Just like the government will intervene if parents fail to responsibly take care of their children, Dayton’s city government will intervene if property owners in our city don’t take care of their properties."

Dayton officials have identified 50 properties within the city as abandoned and blighted.

"These vacant and blighted properties promote crime, destroy the quality of life in neighborhoods and cost the city a substantial amount of time and money. If property owners fail to maintain their properties, then the city will do so for them and then seek to recover any costs we incur directly from the property owners by enforcement of its code-enforcement citations, filing liens on their properties and possibly filing foreclosure actions to pay for these citations and liens."

Fossett said the city is currently considering creating a low-interest loan fund to allow residents who own their own properties make the repairs to address any code-enforcement violations at those properties.

"We recognize some residents, particularly some of our older residents, have fixed incomes, so we are looking to create home-repair loan fund that would allow these property owners to make needed repairs to their properties with a relaxed loan repayment schedule," he said. 

Officials say Dayton's code enforcement efforts are not meant to be punitive and are considering a low-interest loan program to help with repairs.

“Our code-enforcement efforts are not intended to punitive in nature. We simply want property owners to maintain the properties they own in the city, which will in turn improve not only those properties but the quality of life in our neighborhoods.”

Anyone who wants more information about the Code Enforcement Amnesty Program or any other code-enforcement issues in the city should contact Code Enforcement Director Cassie Patterson at or (859) 491-1600, ext. 231.

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