Mission is the enhancement of Centerville
The city of Centerville’s Mission Statement reads as follows: “The Centerville City Government will provide the leadership to unite all who share a vested interest in the excellence of the community. By learning from our history, preserving our heritage, and addressing the needs of an ever changing lifestyle, our efforts are to enhance the total community.”
Mission statements are used to define an organization’s purpose and primary objectives. When used correctly it gives focus to the team and champions positive change in line with the overarching goals. The stated goal of the government of the city of Centerville is to “enhance the total community.”
In the most recent available census there are reported 2,901 homes within the city limits of Centerville. Of those homes, 49.8 percent (1,444 units) are owner occupied. The remaining 50.2 percent are either unoccupied (410 units) or renter occupied (1,047 units). As a frame of reference, the U.S. Census Bureau reports 65.5 percent of all homes are owner occupied, and the state of Iowa owner/occupancy is 72.6 percent.
In a city with such a large percentage of rental properties, the evaluation of conditions and enforcement of codes on such properties is crucial. Does our city government have a handle on the condition of unoccupied homes and/or the living conditions within rental properties? Are rental properties inspected regularly to ensure safe conditions, and made to comply with city codes? Do we have enough city employees on staff whose singular responsibility is to enforce ordinances that support a positive environment and experience for the tax payers?
Property ownership in not without its responsibilities. The upkeep of every home comes with continued costs; however, such maintenance efforts benefit property owners, renters, neighborhoods and the whole community by increasing property values. In addition, well maintained homes and buildings add to an aging community’s charm and reveal its character. There is not “enhance[ment] of the total community” when property ownership isn’t coupled with responsibility and pride, and below-minimum living standards are tolerated and allowed.