Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Letter to The Council

Just sent the email below to the mayor and city council members regarding the upcoming agenda. Feel free to comment on it, or better yet, send your own thoughts to them:

Mayor Cole and Councilmembers,

Since I don't think I'll make it to the next council meeting, I'm emailing you regarding two items on the upcoming agenda: the rental inspection fee and the housing grant program

Regarding the inspection fee, thought I neither rent nor am a landlord, I think having additional inspectors to help the overwhelmed ones already employed is a good idea. Renters in the Carbondale community should expect that the property they live in meets a certain standard as measured by the city code. Older rental properties in Carbondale have a reputation fro being run down and regular inspection would help address this. $35 a year is not much. If the landlord passes the fee along to the tenant and the tenant cannot afford $2.70 a month in rent more, the landlord probably shouldn't rent to that person in the first place.

Regarding the rental housing grant, I'm of two minds. While the idea is laudable, there's no evidence the $5000 grant will induce a person one way or the other to purchase a house for conversion and the city may just wind up giving away $5000 to a person who would have bought the property. The research I've seen regarding offering tax incentives to business to locate in a community indicates the incentives have little to no influence on the business' final decision (I'll be glad to send you a link to some of the research if you'd like to see it) and I'd think this proposal would have the same result. Also, given the financial status of the community and no funding for this program aside from the general fund, is this something we can afford to spend money on currently?

If you do decide to go ahead with it, I'd recommend a 2 year pilot program to see if it has the desired effects before implementing it permanently.

Also, I'd like to support exercising the option on Jeff Doherty's contract as he does a pretty good job as city manager.

Scott Thorne
Castle Perilous Games


re. the city manager doing a good job -- For the past 10 years the City has been "obligated", according to law, to inspect every rental property every three years. Nonetheless, the City Manager has let this obligation slide. There has been absolutely no regular inspection; it's all hit and miss, mostly miss. It's a wonder noone has died, given the condition of some of the houses. It seems to me Doherty has been either utterly incompetent or criminally negligent. Not someone we want to entrust with running this city. He should have been fired long ago. In fact, he never should have been elevated to this level of responsibility.
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