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Mar 01

On Second Reading

Comments (0) 12:00 AM posted by admin |

Today is the big day. Tonight is the second and final reading of the Vacant Buildings Ordinance. I’ve expressed my opposition to this amendment because it’s ineffective, but more importantly, the building blocks are not in place to enforce it.

The City of Ypsilanti spends a mind-numbing $183K a year to enforce ordinances employing one full-time enforcement officer and one ordinance officer / building inspector. Page 52 of the City’s budget statement says that it earns nearly $473K in fines and costs. No one has been able to successfully tell me if that is all from ordinance enforcement or not. But for sake of this argument, we will assume that it all is. If there are 200 working days a year, the City generates almost $2400 a day in ordinance enforcement. If the average fine is $100 (I used $100 knowing some fines like snow shoveling are only $15, but most second offenses are $200 or more) and Frank Daniels spends his time split equally between building inspection and ordinance enforcement, the City issues two ordinances an hour. That’s the number I was hoping to see. Given this information, ordinance enforcement is swamped. They can’t enforce any stronger because the staff isn’t there.

Now comes the VBO. How do we enforce it given staffing considerations? Good question. The most logical answer is to stop enforcing some ordinances that already exist. That may sound stupid, but if resources are finite, it’s inevitable. The VBO is wrong for so many reasons, but when current ordinance enforcement will suffer because of it, adopting this amendment is irresponsible. And that’s what will happen.

I encourage everyone to show up at City Hall tonight to voice your opinion. You don’t have to agree with me. In fact, I’d like to meet this mysterious silent majority the Mayor speaks of when she talks about the VBO. Come out and speak your mind. If you agree with me, copy anything I’ve written in the past month and read it. Just show up and say your name and say you are either for this or against it. Be a part of the process.

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