Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jane Adams Weighs In

Jane Adams from the Arbor District sent out this email regarding the rental inspection fee:

Here is a note from Jane Adams about the delay in the licensing fee-

I'm extremely puzzled about the delay in voting on the licensing fee that the City Manager just announced. If you'll recall, last March 15, during the election campaign, Brad Cole promised that such a fee would be included in this year's budget. It wasn't, and only appeared months later -- after the City Manager brought forward a tax increase that included a provision to give SIU a million dollars a year for the next 20 years. That proposal, you will recall, had only one evening for discussion and vote. It was notable for the lack of detail that one would expect from a professional staff.

The City Manager has had ample time to have developed a solid proposal for licensing rental property. All interested parties have known for months that such a proposal was to come forward and have had plenty of time for comment. There was no substantive opposition to the proposal at the last City Council meeting, aside from two landlords indicating that, while they supported better code enforcement, they didn't want to pay for it.

The City has surveyed other towns in the state and presumably made a reasoned judgement that the proposal they developed was best suited to our situation.

We have a City Manager form of government so that the professional staff can develop sound recommendations that our elected representatives can then support. Is the delay an indication that our staff lacks this competence? Or are other forces at work to scuttle this proposal through inserting language that would so weaken it that it would not be enforcible? When taken in the context of the 10 years since the passage of the ordinance requiring inspection of rental properties every three years (Ord. 93-73, Section 4-4-16), and of the City Manager's inability or refusal to implement that ordinance over the same 10 year period, a reasonable person would suspect that one or the other is causing this delay.

If in fact the proposed ordinance is strengthened and improved - while it demonstrates a lack of competence in our professional staff - I have no problem with the delay. However, we should be inclined to look at the proposed changes with a very keen eye, and perhaps seek legal counsel on whether the changes might make it unenforceable.

Jane

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