SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) that would help cities and counties       address blighted properties passed committee on Wednesday.

“Blighted properties don’t just affect one or two neighbors. They      can have a ripple effect on an entire block,” Stadelman said.      “Giving our cities and counties the tools they need to fight this problem is the first step to revitalizing our neighborhoods.”

• The measure would reduce abandoned and neglected homes by helping municipalities intervene earlier through the court system to save these properties.

• It allows municipalities and counties to partner with land banks to maintain and manage vacant buildings so they can be saved.

• The measure would help people stay in their homes by reducing the cap on interest rates on unpaid property taxes.

“Sen. Stadelman recognizes the impact that blighted properties have in Rockford, and I appreciate all of his work in Springfield to help mitigate this issue,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “Blighted properties decrease home values, drive away investment, and are havens for criminal activity. This bill makes it easier for municipalities to intercept dilapidated properties before they are beyond repair so that they can be rehabilitated and placed back on the tax rolls. My administration has taken aggressive action to strengthen our neighborhoods, and this bill we be a tremendous tool that can help the city in this work.”

“When you have abandoned and deteriorating homes, it’s often local governments that pay to maintain or demolish these properties,” Stadelman said. “This measure finds solutions to help our state better address neighborhood rehabilitation.”

Senate Bill 1721 passed the Senate Revenue Committee with a vote of 6-4 and now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.