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Milwaukee Mayor wants to hire "foreclosure czar"

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Milwaukee's mayor wants to hire a top official to be in charge of clearing out hundreds of foreclosed and abandoned houses. 

Tom Barrett has asked the Common Council to approve a "foreclosure czar" as part of next year's city budget. 

The mayor is proposing almost $12 million, to start a long-running effort to clean up over 1,000 residential properties the city has taken over by foreclosures. 

Barrett's goal for next year is to tear down 100 city-owned houses, plus 200 others that were abandoned or foreclosed upon. The mayor also wants to start a new rehab effort on blighted properties. 

Barrett spokesman Jeff Fleming says the "foreclosure czar" would be the main person dealing with Milwaukee's foreclosure issues. That official would work with other key people both in and out of city government.