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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Your view: Simple solutions

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Dear Mike:

Some thoughts from a barber shop where in the past a lot of problems have been solved: the deterioration of our town is of several reasons.

One is age. Many properties are 50-100 years old as well as the downtown commercial area. A lot of these properties haven't been maintained at all. Those owners should be required to update them or remove them at their expense.

The next reason is a culture change. The attitude has done a flip-flop in the last 30 years, especially the last five years, both in the workplace and rental areas. Because of that, there has to be a set of rules to follow, just like the stop sign.

We need to go revisit the rental ordinance and enforce the guidelines on both the property owner and the renter. Why not have the code officer not only drive by for the $15, but go in and record the condition of the residence and, if the owner needs to make repairs, do it. OK? Then if the renter does damage, the owner calls the code officer to compare conditions. There must be a way to make the owner and renter to comply. If the renter does damage big time (like in so many cases), he must be removed then and not be allowed another occupancy permit in town.

As it is now, the renter does damage, then moves down the street and does it all over again. The first sign of damage is parking in the yard and not on provided parking areas. The owner, regardless who he is, cannot keep up with repairs.

The next reason is trash pick up. Some towns or cities pick up everything. Why not instead of two major pickups a year couldn't it be done at least once a month? We wouldn't have mattresses, couches, etc., in yards and alleys for months. Most people don't have any means of hauling those items off. If it would require an additional fee, so be it.

The other item is the demolition of properties. There may be some cases where a house can be rehabilitated. Instead of paying $5,000 to haul it off, give me or someone else, $2,500 and deed and six to 12 months to get it to code and back on the market. Then the city would have a taxable base again. There are a lot of cases. The properties around one being hauled off is not much better. Why would anyone want to give anything for that vacant lot?

Perhaps instead of always trying to find state or federal grants (taxpayer money), try to encourage local private owners and the local labor force to rehab and maintain properties. You would then put more people to work, spend more money for local materials - that would create a contagious attitude of helping to beautify our town.

Thanks again to the City Council and staff for all the time and effort concerning our town.

Having been a property owner and resident here for 40-plus years, I hope we can see a change in the outcome of our town.

Harry Williams