To the editor:
“I’m looking forward to trying to improve the housing stock in town,” Mayor Dever said. “I feel like these inspections, though, really need to be about life safety issues.”
If our goal is to improve the rental housing stock, then the department that handles blighted property has the tools (ordinances) to alleviate the problem. The problem will not be alleviated if the department does not have the political courage to use the tools they possess.
If life safety is the issue, then the proposed ordnance should apply to all citizens that reside in our city. To do otherwise would be assuming that safety is less important to families living in owner-occupied residences as opposed to tenants living in non-owner-occupied properties. Not only is this proposed ordnance hypocritical, it is also discriminatory.
City officials are proposing an ordnance that would increase taxes (registration fees) on the minority who are non-owner-occupied property owners. Imagine the red tape involved whereby the city obtains an administrative warrant because a tenant would not consent to an inspection. What would constitute probable cause … dirty furnace filter, cracked switchplate, etc.?
During the past ten years, our city’s lack of population and job growth has placed us near the bottom as compared to cities in our same category. Maybe it is time our city officials devoted more time on job creation and less time on micro-managing the personal lives of individuals.