Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Bad business for Vernon

Letters to the Editor
Journal Inquirer
March 15, 2010

Sadly, Vernon Mayor Jason L. McCoy still doesn’t understand the community in which he lives and works.

McCoy wants to force landlords to register with the town for a fee whenever they have a vacant apartment, so the town can inspect the premises before a new tenant can occupy it. According to Republican Town Councilor Mark Etre, there are “embarrassing, run-down units in Rockville” worse than in some Third World countries.

If so, enforce the long-neglected blight ordinance by having Building Department staff cite appropriate neglected dwellings and force needed improvements. Utilize the fire marshal, building officials, and state and local laws and ordinances already in existence.

Instead, the mayor believes that by creating another level of bureaucracy, he will generate much-needed revenue to the community. But this ordinance has no method of enforceability. It will only rely on the landlord to make the report. There is no new position created to follow-up on any vacant apartment. The town will take a fee and no inspection will occur. This still assumes the landlord is honest enough to notify the town. No notification, then no vacancy.

We can’t trust McCoy to believe this will benefit the town, the tenants, and eliminate the blight.

At the Feb. 19 Council meeting, McCoy didn’t know what his own administration has been doing. When Councilwoman Marie Herbst asked if everyone had been notified about a reconvened public hearing his reply was that everyone had been notified by phone or e-mail.

The truth came out from town administrator John Ward. Ward said he posted the meeting notice outside the town clerk’s office and never notified anyone personally. The mayor proved he is clueless on this issue and that his word has little value to taxpayers.

The mayor sees an opportunity to gain a little revenue from an activity that happens nearly every week in most large communities, people moving in and out of apartments. He never saw that this ordinance would require a new employee to handle the work, since no other town employees responsible for enforcing the blight ordinance has the time to do that part of their job.

Drop this idea. It is bad business for Vernon. It has no means of enforcement and will generate no real revenue.

Tim Morrissey

The writer is a Vernon Democratic Town Committee member.