The city of Rockford doesn’t have its own health department; the county takes care of it. If a building poses a safety hazard, the county condemns the building. But they don’t have the authority to tear it down, so it just sits, possibly for years.
That was one of the many problems discussed by the Health and Human Services Department and the County Health Department at a meeting regarding run down property. Other problems include policy that hasn't been revised for decades, discrepancies between city and county laws and the collection of fines for violating those rules.
Patricia Eddy has been trying to get her neighborhood cleaned up for years and wants to see less talking and more action, “Many of them have never been to that area, they have to come and see it, it's like a book, you cant judge it by the cover, you have to get in the pages and you cant judge it by pictures, you must see it."
Another reason many of these house sit, is that they may dilapidated but are no longer a safety concern. For instance a run down building with a gaping hole can be patched up and considered safe, but it's still run down.
The health department says in the majority of the cases reported, the offenders do comply. It's those who are habitually in violation that cause most of the problems.