Oath of office, which politicians take, should start with “I will operate within the money allocated to me by the people I represent.” In the last 11 years (since Ben Frederick became mayor), the city of Owosso has been on a mission to create more revenue on the backs of residents, businesses, factories, shoppers and anyone else who enters Owosso city limits. The Michigan Headlee Amendment – passed in 1978 – requires voter approval for any local tax increases. City officials knew the voters would deny additional taxes, so the city came up with other means to increase revenue and expand government.
Conniving measures invented by Mayor Frederick, City Manager Crawford and Assistant Manager Zittle are as follows:
• Truckers try to avoid Owosso because they know Owosso police will ticket to the max.
• Some businesses paint over signage instead of paying $300 for the newly required permit.
• Parking tickets have been raised from $5 to $10, even though it angered shoppers. The original tickets were issued to deter downtown employees from parking in front of stores, so why is the city leasing spaces and ticketing people who park in parking lots?
• Inspections are now required by the city before opening a business. Some nonsense LARA rules are being enforced, such as two fire extinguishers in a 500-square-foot clothing store. I am sure most people don’t know how to use an extinguisher or have ever seen one used.
• Tenants sign a lease with the landlord that they are responsible for paying for their water and sewer. Tenants pay a $75 deposit to the city and put the water in tenants’ name. Our city billed tenants once a month, but recently changed to a three-month billing cycle to save money. This enabled tenants to leave unpaid bills well over $200. The city ignores the tenant and goes after the sure thing, the landlord. If the landlord picks up papers for a tenant to sign, stating the landlord is responsible, then the landlord doesn’t have to pay.
• The city’s master plan of 2012 was scrapped because of so many nonsense rules it wasn’t enforceable. The Landlord/Tenant ordinance is even worse and should be repealed.
• A tenant put a stuffed chair next to their garbage, thinking the refuse truck would pick it up on Thursday morning; they didn’t. On Friday, the city picked it up and charged the landlord $238. The same landlord was fined $75 because a tenant had an expired license plate on a car in the driveway. How can our city penalize landlords when they didn’t know about these things? The city used to notify tenants, then have the unlicensed car towed.
Our city officials should get a coffee at Tim Horton’s and look at the Mathews building that has had half its siding off for 10 years. Our city hall has had orange fence and cones by the collapsing retaining wall for over a year. The city of Owosso is no longer a moral or resident friendly city.
Roger Snyder, Owosso