Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jonesboro Property Code and Hidden Tax

by Ralph Meade, Letter to Editor: Code complaints - Anyone who reads the Jonesboro Property Maintenance Code with discerning eyes will see in every section, "We're the government and we're here to help," the scariest eight words in the English language according to Ronald Reagan.

That brings to memory all the lavish government spending with no effective results but with unintended consequences galore — like $500 toilet seats, $400 hammers, Solyndra, and interest on the $19 trillion debt, all paid with general taxpayer money.

But with the Jonesboro property code the expensive, hidden tax will be levied on individuals at random with little or no fairness at all, citations being given as a result of a complaint, according to the Mayor, but not the code itself.

What is the main thing that the property code is meant to do for us? Protect our health, welfare and safety. These words are referred to about 54 times in this 34-page property code and were stressed at the city's informational meetings.

For the thousands of us senior citizens who have never lived in a "safe" house up to this code and still made it to our 70s and 80s, this is nonsense. We are in much greater fear of our empty wallets because of this code and our inability to purchase our necessary medicine than living in "unsafe" houses.

We want to live out our days as law-abiding citizens. The code says, "[A] 106.1 It shall be unlawful for a person, firm, or corporation to be in conflict with or in any violation of any of the provisions of this code." There is probably not a house in Jonesboro that meets all the nitpicking requirements in the code, so we will now be breaking the law.

When parents can't even afford health care for themselves or their children, how can the mayor ask them to spend money on nitpicking expensive requirements in the code such as hard wiring smoke alarms in every room, moving or replacing an undersized electrical panel, rewiring the entire house where required, replacing electrical outlets in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, replacing weather stripping and glaze on windows, cracks in concrete and on and on.

To those people who don't want anything to mar the beauty around them, and to an ambitious mayor working to make a name for himself: Somehow, I just can't get too concerned about people who are worried about protecting their property values and career when thousands are worried about keeping a roof over their heads.
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Ralph Meade is a resident of Bono, Arkansas

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