By Michelle Stoffel

March 11, 2011

Foreclosures continue to rise in Arlington Heights, bringing additional costs to the village, though officials say there’s little they can do on the local level.

According to statistics gathered by the Woodstock Institute, a non-profit research and policy organization, Arlington Heights had 500 foreclosures last year, up by 46 from 2009. That was the year foreclosures in the village jumped to 454. The numbers compare to 144 in 2007 and 271 in 2008.

The Woodstock Institute gathers its data from public records of foreclosure filings with local courts.

The village separately received the number of foreclosures last year from the courts for the first time, said assistant village attorney Robin Ward. The number was 414, but that may be low since not all foreclosure agencies report, Ward said.

As the number of foreclosures rises, so do maintenance costs under the village’s weed and grass cutting program. Some vacant houses in foreclosure require lawn cuts, officials said, and the number rose to 295 last year.

The village takes over if owners of a foreclosed property fail to maintain the property to village code. The village charges the property owner, a bank in many cases, to recoup the expense. The village budgets $52,800 each year for weed cutting, lot clearing and emergency maintenance clean-up efforts.

Village manager Bill Dixon said it is helpful to get foreclosure notices so the village can keep track, but besides some maintenance, there’s little the village can do.

“We’ve been attending various seminars on that subject,” he said. “I don’t know any municipality has that answer, but we’re taking part in the dialogue on what is a sad trend.”

Foreclosures also continued to rise in nearby municipalities.

Buffalo Grove’s foreclosures increased only 4.5 percent from 290 in 2009 to 303 in 2010, while Palatine’s increased nearly 45 percent from 540 to 782. Mount Prospect’s foreclosure rate increased about 23 percent from 292 in 2009 to 358 last year and Rolling Meadows bumped 27 percent from 193 to 245.

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