President Reagan famously said "trust but verify" when dealing with the Soviet Union, and that advice applies well to Belleville's proposed crime-free housing plan, also.
Not that Belleville is anything like the Soviet Union, but the crime-free housing plan is controversial and landlords in particular are nervous about enacting it. Two provisions in the proposed ordinance would help verify that the program works as planned.
The task force would have a committee meet every six months to track the program's progress. Great idea. That would help ensure that the ordinance achieves its goals, and does not result in undesirable consequences.
In that same vein, the task force insists that a sunset clause of December 2017 be included. That also is a must.
City Attorney Mike Flynn deleted that requirement, reasoning that the council could always amend or eliminate it later. In theory, that's true, but we all know that ordinances without sunset clauses rarely get reviewed or reconsidered.
Crime is an important election issue for Belleville, and the decision of whether to continue this particular program should be made actively, not passively by future leaders. If the crime-free ordinance is successful and worth continuing, the City Council in 2017 can renew it.