Empty and abandoned houses, known as zombie homes, are a big problem in the North Country. The State Attorney General has awarded a total of $13 million to cities and towns across the state to help tackle the problem.
Watertown City Planner Mike Lumbis says right now the office is notified about a new vacant home in the city only if a neighbor complains about it. The $150,000 grant will allow Watertown to create a database of all the homes that are empty or going into foreclosure. That database will have information on the homeowner, Lumbis says, usually a bank.