On Monday, January 31st, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott directed all City agencies to conduct internal reviews of all operations, procedures, and processes concerning vacant houses.
Baltimore City has just over 1,500 vacant properties, with approximately one third of said properties undergoing revitalization. These properties have contributed to reduced property values, increased blight, additional crime, and nuisances experienced by neighboring properties.
Mayor Scott discussed the importance of the directive in a press release:
“This is one of the most consequential undertakings of my Administration; there is too much at stake to leave a single recommendation off the table,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This is a top priority of my Administration. Anything less than our very best attempt at solving the problem would be a discredit to the lives of the brave firefighters we lost last week and the residents we serve day in and day out.”
City Administrator Chris Shorter thanked Mayor Scott for the initiative and explained how internal reviews will help address vacant properties:
“I want to thank Mayor Scott for tasking all city agencies with this critically important mission,” said City Administrator Shorter. “I look forward to working with the Housing Commissioner, City Solicitor, and other government officials to review our current strategies to alleviate nuisance properties and provide comprehensive recommendations to the Mayor on operational, financial, and legal tools that strengthen our prevention and enforcement efforts.”
Agencies will have 30 days from the date of Mayor Scott’s announcement to complete their reviews. Upon receiving the results, Mayor Scott intends to release a set of goals to reduce the number of vacant properties, both through tackling existing vacant properties and preventing additional vacancies.