by Dawn Watson | CNBNewsnet
Related: Take Your Best Shot
GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ--On Saturday, April 8, I received a notice from the housing authority that my home had multiple code violations. It was ominously worded, pointing out that my house needed paint, "shingles", and "sidewalk". My neighbors up and down Market and Powell Streets, all got the same notice, citing different failings of upkeep and general lackluster home-ownership. While the notice stated that repairs must begin within seven days, it did not indicate the start date, nor did it let us know how we were supposed to pay for said improvements.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me: This was a game called, Grasping for Revenue! See, a couple of years ago the city decided we needed (another) school so they raised our taxes. We, the people, didn't want the school but that was okay--that's not how the game is played. Here is how we believe it is played:
1. The city decides that the fields that were 'formed' by knocking down scores of homes on radioactive soil were not revenue-generating.
2. They build a school on the once-radioactive soil (All better now! Safe for kids!)
3. The school costs money so the citizens must pay for it. (Don't like it? You lose!)
4. In order for the kids to have a pretty view of the 'poor' side of town the citizens better spruce up their homes (and be glad they weren't part of the purge) regardless of their ability to pay for improvements after paying their increased taxes. Because of the school. That we didn't ask for.
One neighbor spoke to a housing inspector and was told that the houses needed to look perfect for the increase in kids walking to the new school. Where are these kids coming from? Houses better than ours? Will they be scarred for life if they see that my siding is dull? Will they need a therapist to comfort them because my railings are chipped? Poor kids. Better tell your therapist about the radioactive classroom situation while you're at it.
And while we're on the topic of childhood trauma, which of these children is going to climb on my roof and be forever traumatized by a few missing shingles? Should I pay $8,000 so a pre-teen has improved emotional health? What about my emotional health? And why is there a kid on my roof?
I moved to Gloucester City because it was affordable. It's becoming increasingly unaffordable because of situations such as these. The random harassment by the governing body and the all-powerful Housing Authority of those on Social Security, disability, and welfare in Gloucester City has got to stop. Although I phrased this article in a cavalier manner it does not take away the sting of the situation.
I believe it is time to take a stand and say we've had enough; if the city wants our homes to be upgraded then let the city pitch in and help us pay for the upgrade. Oh, the city doesn't have the money for an upgrade? Then, stop sending us bogus code violation letters because we don't have the money, either!
I may be in for retaliation,