David Markham published a great article explaining how the people who are advocates for dissolving the Village are the same people who created the very problems they cite as reasons for dissolution. In short, David shows that the people who circulated the petition to dissolve the Village are hypocrites.
The article is posted on The Brockporter website. Everyone who lives in the Village of Brockport should read it with an open mind.
Markham cites experts who state that one of the main elements of community satisfaction is safe and secure neighborhoods. He goes on to point out that the Brockport Police Department is vital to the safety and security of all Brockport’s neighborhoods because the neighborhood watch programs that exist in other communities simply can’t survive in a college town such as Brockport.
Many of the houses in the neighborhoods in the heart of Brockport, the old streets lined with beautiful Victorian houses dating back to the Civil War, have been converted into rental properties for college students. Those houses are now occupied by a large group of highly transient, single people in their late teens and early twenties. Those are not the kind of people who participate in neighborhood watch programs, so in Brockport those programs have withered and died.
David Markham puts it this way. The neighborhoods where the college students live “do not lend themselves to any kind of neighborhood watch because they are unstable being populated by people without any commitment to the neighborhood or the Village in which they are located.”
If you don’t live in the heart of the Village, then you probably don’t understand what a huge negative impact the college students can have on the neighborhood where they live. Markham writes about how the homeowners in those neighborhoods constantly have to deal with “rowdy, alcohol induced noise, property damage, vandalism, thefts, and assault in the village core between the SUC Brockport campus and the village bars.” David should know. His house is the only house on his street that is still a single-family home. Every other house on his street has been turned into a college rental.
It is interesting to look at who signed the petition to dissolve the Village. For example, twenty two people on Cloverwood Drive signed the petition. How much less would their homes be worth if every other house on Cloverwood Drive had been turned into a college rental? Twenty people on Carolyn Drive signed the petition to dissolve the Village. If theirs were the only house on Carolyn Drive that was still a single-family home, would they still have signed the petition?
Since those neighborhood watch programs can’t survive here in the Village, the Brockport Police Department is the only thing that stands between Brockport residents and absolute chaos. But the slumlords want to dissolve the Village to get rid of the Police Department. The slumlords complain about the Village taxes and blame it on the Police Department. But the slumlords should blame it on themselves.
The slumlords also want to dissolve the Village to get rid of the Code Enforcement Department. The Town of Sweden’s Building Department, which handles code enforcement for the town, does not have either the staff or the expertise required to handle code enforcement in a college town. That department is set up to handle code enforcement in suburban subdivisions and rural areas. Code enforcement in a college town is a totally different ball game.
Some people don’t realize that many of the slumlords do not maintain the exterior of their properties because it keeps their property assessments lower. Fred Webster’s dump on Maxon Street is a prime example. He bought the place when Mr. Zimmer died, and he hasn’t put a drop of paint on it since. There are shingles missing and the entire house is a disgrace to look at.
Think about how that affects the real estate market. If someone in the neighborhood tires to sell their beautifully maintained Victorian House with hardwood floors and stained-glass windows, buyers will take one look at the Fred Webster dump, and drive away. Nobody would pay good money to buy a house next to Fred Webster’s dump.
But like the rest of the slumlords who circulated the petition to dissolve the Village, Fred Webster doesn’t care about what is in the best interest of the single-family home owners in Brockport. Instead of some spending time fixing up his run-down college rental property on Maxon Street, Fred Webster spent his time collection signatures on twenty two different streets in Brockport.
To make matters worse, as Markham points out, when the Village government tried to implement some mild constraints on converting single-family houses into tenant housing, the slumlords sued the Village and brought the Village to the brink of bankruptcy. The slumlords forced the Village to spend hundreds of thousands dollars of the tax payer’s money to fight the slumlord’s frivolous lawsuit. Then they turn around and complain that the Village tax rate it too high.
Slumlords collected 88 percent of the signatures on the petition. Moreover, some people who signed the petition lied about where they live. The people who did that are slumlords who don’t live in Brockport. So why would anyone believe anything the slumlords say? They are the ones who created the problems in the first place.