Editorial: Gloversville code crackdown a good thing

It's nice to see a city get aggressive in improving itself
This house at 232 South Main St. in Gloversville has been cited for code violations.
This house at 232 South Main St. in Gloversville has been cited for code violations.

Show up for a job interview unshaven, in a dirty shirt, torn pants and smelling of booze.

See if you get a call back from that potential employer.

In a way, communities these days are in a perpetual job interview.

The good ones desire businesses to locate within their borders to help offset residential tax bills. They want people to buy houses there and raise families there and shop there and work there. They want residents to enjoy their quality of life.

Junk cars and rusty appliances and trash piled up in yards makes a bad impression. Overgrown lawns and peeling paint and fallen-down fences and broken windows make a bad impression. Graffiti makes a bad impression.

And those impressions affect whether you or your business wants to be in that community.

Not only do properties like these affect the image of the city and the quality of life for residents, they also drive down property values, making it difficult for sellers to get a good price for their homes in a sale.

When people see other properties around them be allowed to become run-down, it discourages those people from sprucing up their properties. But when people see others keep up their properties and take pride in their community, it encourages them to do the same.

For those who don’t take pride in their properties or who refuse to give in to neighborhood peer pressure, the city has an obligation to step in. So officials in Gloversville should be commended for their recent effort to crack down on code violations and perpetual code scofflaws in an effort to make the community a better place to live.

City officials have to be careful not to go overboard in their enforcement efforts and should find ways to help residents keep up their properties. Not everyone can afford a new paint job. And removing large piles of junk can get expensive, even if the material is recyclable.

City leaders should also use the fines they collect from scofflaws, perhaps through a revolving loan fund, to help support property owners who want to get their homes up to code but who don’t have the means to make major upgrades.

And city offi cials should continue to give residents ample warning and opportunity to make code before imposing fi nes. Some people might get upset with the new initiative, but that’s OK. Resistance to change is always to be expected.

As we said in a previous editorial, we think the city did go too far in suspending free residential trash pickup to apartment buildings of a certain size in an attempt to get landlords to spruce up their properties. The initiative, we said, unfairly punished tenants by having them pay the cost of private trash collection, through higher rents, that residents of single-family homes and smaller apartment units didn’t have to pay.

Still, the initiative was well-intended, and we hope the city finds another way to accomplish the same goal regarding large rental units.

Overall, it’s nice to see a city get aggressive in improving itself and in holding property owners accountable for how the community looks.

Done correctly, this effort could help everyone in Gloversville live a better life.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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