The primary objective for both candidates to consider in their quest to be mayor of the city of Belleville should be:
1. Inspection of all rental housing on an annual basis done in quadrants.
2. Violations found by housing inspectors can allow for landlords to make repairs within three years to upgrade properties owned and rented to tenants. Re-inspections to be conducted semi-annually to make sure necessary repairs are completed.
3. Citations to be issued if repairs are not completed.
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4. Vacant housing neglected by owners be given two years to either renovate property or tear the property down at owner expense.
5. In cases cited above it will bring stabilization to the neighborhoods within the city of Belleville and help reduce “crime,” which all citizens want.
6. Regarding the elimination of the city Engineer’s position, candidates should understand before making comments: (a) The city engineer was responsible for making sure the Dutch Hollow Bridge was completed in two years using federal CDBG money and not Motor Fuel Tax appropriations when applying for the grant. (b) The bridge work would not have even begun had IDOT been involved due to Motor Fuel Tax appropriations being used. (c) Two years of grant money starting in 2014 and finishing in 2016 amounted to $736,000. (d) The city engineer did not design the bridge, but made all the necessary inspections saving the city Motor Fuel Tax appropriations. (e) It would cost the city of Belleville a minimum of $300,000 annually to hire out the work of the city engineer because of the amount of infrastructure repairs also under his jurisdiction, which has amounted to $1 million annually during the past 10 years.
7. Our police detectives solve crimes and do not sit around with coffee cups in hand. We have a superb detective investigative unit overseen by Capt. John Moody.
I am submitting this article in response to the negative publicity published in the Belleville News-Democrat without researching the material.
Raffi Ovian, Ward 4 Alderman, Belleville