So I posted earlier about starting enforcement of the Chronic Nuisance Ordinance. Along with positive comments about cleaning up the City, I’ve received several comments and emails pointing out that the City is at times not in compliance with it’s own ordinances. I’ve gotten pictures of buildings and dead trees, etc.
Here’s my response… “How great is that?”
We’re hoping that you’ll help us clean up our neighborhoods and you’re pushing us to do the same thing with city owned property and right of ways. Absolutely fantastic.
We routinely work with property owners to get back into compliance on a reasonable time frame given the cost and severity of the repairs required. If you are making progress in a reasonable manner, we let the process run. I hope you’ll allow us the same courtesy.
So here’s my promise to you. The city has a few remaining buildings that are in various stages of repair. We will be issuing a Request for Proposals in the next 30 days that will allow interested parties to purchase some of those buildings to bring new business to town. The new owners, if selected, will have a set time to return the building to code compliance. There are a couple, namely the Studio Theater and the old Montgomery Wards on Main Street, that are beyond repair. We are working to get the Studio down this year and depending on tax revenues the rest of the year and the cost of demolishing the Studio, we will move on as quickly as possible to get the Montgomery Wards building down as well. The remaining buildings, we will bring into compliance.
In 2015, we removed 136 dead trees. In the first quarter of 2016, we removed 36 more. I’m just accumulating the second quarter departmental reports so I don’t have tree removals for April through June yet. As we get other examples of dead trees on city-owned property and right of ways, I’ll talk to Public Works about a schedule to get the dead trees down. If you can do it, we can too.
Much like your household finances, I try to find the balance between the cost of getting this work done and the cost of continuing to financially support other positive things going on in the city. It is a subjective balancing act and I’m sure at times we don’t get it exactly right.
I could easily drop a million dollars on demolitions and beautification… by emptying the city bank account of your hard earned tax dollars, by adding fees and taxes to your household expenses each month to speed things up, or by discontinuing other city projects such as paving.
OR… we, like you, can take pieces of the problem on at a time and whittle away at what needs to be done. At the end of the day, if you do your part and we do our part, the city is clean and your neighborhood, our parks, and our medians look nicer. My goal is to move as fast as possible without asking you for more money.
Keep the comments coming. We are all working on the same thing and hopefully the same goal… a nicer Middletown to live in.