I think everyone's pretty much on the same page that vacant property and poor code enforcement are complex challenges brought about (in part) by a combination of poor business and public policy decisions both locally and nationally over decades. City government alone cannot tackle these problems.
However, the city should be arming itself with new and efficient tools to help tackle these issues. A well-run citizen inspection program would allow the city to use concerned citizens to track and report code enforcement violations. A good vacant property registration ordinance would provide the city with the teeth it needs to hold vacant property owners accountable for their negligence. These tools, if implemented properly, would help city government to face these challenges more efficiently and effectively on a tight budget and with limited staff. They would also help city residents to gain more power to protect and preserve their neighborhoods.
Perhaps most important of these recommendations is the Land Bank, which will help Mahoning County free up thousands of vacant properties mired in debt, cut the red tape, and put them back on the market at a fair rate to business owners, savvy investors, local nonprofits, and Valley homeowners who have a plan to put them back into productive use.
These tools will help us, as tax-paying citizens, put our money to productive use for the redevelopment of our community. This kind of push-back from city government is to be expected, because making these changes will take a lot of time, hard work, and political maneuvering that no one wants to be responsible for taking on. However, they're absolutely necessary for our city and our Valley to survive.
July 15, 2011 at 3:34 p.m.
permalink suggest removal