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Sep 11

Property Maintenance Code

Posted on September 11, 2015 at 1:20 PM by Darren Musselwhite

One of the most common requests by citizens to me has been to take action regarding the deterioration of property conditions in some of our residential neighborhoods and the declines in property values, blight, and crime that commonly follows this.  Many want our City to learn a lesson from the demise of other cities that have refused to address and take action with these problems.

To honor my promise to protect our original neighborhoods that are naturally at a greater risk of blight and crime, I researched the issue, and after many hours of discussions developed a proposed ordinance that would allow the City to make a difference.  International Maintenance Codes are common in the United States for this very purpose, however the City's proposed ordinance only addresses a small fraction of this related to exterior conditions only.  

Ideally, I do not desire to ever support regulation that involves private property, however, when dilapidated property conditions are so severe that it affects public safety or property values of other citizens, then I believe action is necessary for the benefit of the entire City.  More specifically, this ordinance is not designed to scrutinize minor maintenance issues, but only those that are flagrant to the point of affecting other citizens' property values. 

I also recognize that many elderly or disabled citizens need help maintaining their property at times.  This was one of the motivations of the Serve Southaven program recently created to serve these specific needs before the ordinance is ever addressed.  It's important to me to help these special-needs citizens.  Furthermore, the proposed ordinance process allows a warning and reasonable amount of time for all to make compliant repairs.

Again, as I've told our Board of Aldermen, it is a fact that blight and crime go "hand-in-hand" with deteriorating property conditions and this ordinance is geared to stop flagrant conditions only.  I will respect the decision of the Board, but am only upholding my promise to the people to do everything I can to prevent the demise of our neighborhoods and protect the quality of our City. 

Finally, I challenge everyone in our City to not look back one day with regret and say..."I had a chance to make a difference before it was too late".