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In the very middle of our neighborhood reside two duplexes, which would require significant renovation in order to qualify as a slum. This is a phenomenon not unique to our neighborhood but exists citywide. The major downside is two-fold. While property taxes rise, valuations decrease, and blighted property attracts crime, including drugs. This sounds harsh, but there is no other truthful explanation. Not addressing blight puts the city at cross-purposes with itself, at great cost.

Council member John Ellington has been helpful in coordinating with city agencies to find a solution, but the problem appears far from resolution. Council member Joel Petty’s advice was to contact the city attorney. The problem, however, goes far beyond a handful of people.

Older neighborhoods need not be blighted areas, except as they are allowed to be. Landlords and homeowners have responsibility as well as privilege. Are new building and inspection codes needed? If so, would the city find it to their benefit to draft them? Or would a full-time building inspector enforcing ordinances already in place suffice?

This is a problem as well as an opportunity for our city government. Please take as much care for us as you do for city property.

Jim Lombard, Baraboo 

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