Unfortunately the proposed Crime-Free Housing Ordinance has become an all-out assault on the Belleville rental community by imposing a $25 per unit "rent tax."
This tax will collect about $200,000 annually. Its continuance will come before the City Council for review after five years. By this time the city will have collected $1 million.
Background checks ($15 to $40 per) will double that figure to $2 million, and these costs will most certainly be passed on to the tenants.
Our mayor says this money is needed to run the program. In reality we could start enforcing this ordinance tomorrow with little or no cost to the city. Costs for additional police, administrative personnel and computer systems used for the entire community should be shared by the entire community and the bill should not be dropped in the lap of the rental community alone.
Our current mayor and the Good Government Party have been in power for eight years and have woefully neglected our crime problem. Now with the election right around the corner the mayor puts this ordinance on the fast track so they can take credit for doing something.
We could have had all the tools we needed to address our crime problems long ago if we had prioritized our needs and spent what money we do have more sensibly. Believe me, this ordinance is just as much about raising money as it is about fighting crime.