Update, includes resolution language. If you are subject to foreclosure action by the Water Pollution Control Authority, you’ve been given a 180-day reprieve to work something out. That, at least, is the perspective of the City Council that voted almost unanimously Wednesday night following a public hearing to place a moratorium on foreclosures regarding tardy sewer-fee payments called into question by many members of the legislative branch.
CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more on this:
But whether the stoppage goes forward or not seems in question. The City Attorney’s office, which initiates the foreclosures, is reviewing the legality of the council’s decision.
“Clearly the council wants one (a moratorium),” said City Attorney R. Christopher Meyer Thursday. “We’re looking at it.”
He said one question is whether the council has the right to impose the moratorium because the sewage collection system and two wastewater treatment plants are managed by the Water Pollution Control Authority.
Full story here.
City Councilman Marcus Brown, co-chair of the council committee responsive to constituent complaints that characterized abusive collection practices, says the council is working on reforms such as stopping the use of outside attorneys from bringing foreclosure action and limiting fees involved.
Referring to the City Attorney’s Office, Brown adds, “They have 90 days to give us their legal opinion. If they don’t act in 90 days the charter says we can pass the amendments to the existing ordinances without a legal opinion.”
East End councilor Ernie Newton praised his colleagues for the action.
“We heard testimony of how people have been treated. We need to do better. It’s the council’s job to address a problem when you see it. It’s been open season. No checks and balances. They allowed outside attorneys to do what they wanted to do. No one should operate without checks and balances. This has been going on a long time. Our job as a council is to put some checks and balances to fix things not being done right.”
From City Council Resolution
WHEREAS, the number of liens, foreclosures and foreclosure-related evictions caused by the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) has become a citywide problem; and
WHEREAS, foreclosures destabilize neighborhoods and the loss of a home to foreclosure can devastate a family; in addition to losing what is often their most significant asset they are uprooted from community supports and often find themselves with no place to go; and
WHEREAS, the City Council Committee on Ordinances currently “has before it Resolutions 55-17, 56-17, and 57-17 all of which intend in their final form to rectify by Ordinance the many problems the City Council sees in the WPCA and the Lien Foreclosure process;” and
WHEREAS, a Moratorium of 180 days placed on the WPCA or any of its representatives in commencing any further Foreclosures would enable the Council Committee on Ordinances to complete their work with the pending three resolutions and for the full City Council to take the steps necessary to resolve the conflicts identified in the existing ordinances; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Bridgeport City Council that to enable the Ordinance Committee to complete its work, minimize unnecessary hardship on the residents of Bridgeport, that effective April 3, 2018 No Court Action to Foreclose a Lien Shall Be Instituted for a period of 180 days by the WPCA or any of its representatives AS AMENDED FROM THE FLOOR AT THE APRIL 2, 2018 CITY COUNCIL MEETING
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by the Bridgeport City Council any and all foreclosures currently pending in the Superior Court shall be included in the moratorium and no further action shall be taken by the WPCA Attorneys to move pending case or cases in the Superior Court.