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Columns

April 17, 2014

Raising permit fees will harm city

Dear Editor,

Surcharges, fees, franchise fees, (3 percent on Alliant bills — council voted 5-0 on 04/10/14), special assessments, $5 million bonding (which will raise property taxes), and now city’s attempts at increasing permit fees for landlords for purpose of funding inspectors to bring all rental properties to code compliance.

Landlords, first and foremost, are taxpayers. Property tax that is reaped from landlords (who own multiple parcels of land) are a substantial resource of revenues in property taxes for the city. Regardless of council’s denial of targeting landlords, that is exactly what they are doing, as such, by attempting to collect more, to fund inspectors, may exacerbate harm to those who are now very beneficial to city, thus defeating council’s purpose.

In council chambers on 04/10/14 after two and 1/2 hours of silence and dialogue, it all came down to this. It’s all about the money. In order to attain that money, the city may loose something more valuable, property taxes, from those who will find the restrictions, of inspectors, to confining to remain in business. If that cost is so great, the landlord will be forced to increase rent and in this community, most renters will not be able to afford.

Later in the meeting on 04/10/14 questions were asked of the council.

1. How many landlords are in this community?

2. How much money is collected now?

3. What is the reason for the restructuring, for funding of inspectors for code compliance reasons?

4. How much money do you need?

To all of the questions, with exception of #3, council and administrator stared blankly at each other in silence, finally admitting they did not know, it didn’t enter into their calculations. This was the “ah-ha” moment for all in attendance.

It was just for the money! The city needed more money!

During the duration of the meeting, councilman Lind’s descriptive word for substandard people residing in this community as “floaters” and they need a “kick in the pants” to raise themselves to “our” standards, or move on down the road. (Overtones of another leader). This statement brought a collective verbal gasp from all in attendance, as if to say “What exactly did he just say?”

Prevailing minds in that council chamber on evening of 04/10/14 were definitely not those sitting at the table.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathy Cooprider

Centerville

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