The City of New London is an Absentee Landlord
The Gods know we have our share of problems in this little-big city of ours. We have all of the trials and tribulations of a Big City but on Small Town resources. Kinda sucks. Be nice if we stopped shouldering the burden for surrounding towns, let them take care of themselves, and then maybe we could take better care of ourselves. Sounds reasonable but…what the hell do I know? Along with our major problem of the town housing somewhere near 50% non-taxable property (hospital, churches, colleges, the USCGA yada yada yada) we have another problem called the Absentee Landlord.
Popular thinking is that if the taxable property in the city was actually lived-in by its OWNER well there might be some more pride or something. Properties might look better if their owners had to LOOK at them rather than just kickin’ back in say, Florida, and collecting rent checks every month.
Ok. I suppose there could be something to that. BUT, I think the real problem is that the City of New London, is itself, an Absentee Landlord. The City has no pride in the City unless it has something to do with something so outrageously ridiculous it makes you lose your lunch. Hold on, listen; we spent GOOD money to send people around checking NUMBERS on HOUSES. We spent GOOD money sending people around to see if everyone’s property was nice and pretty…if it wasn’t you got a nasty note. We spent GOOD money to send people around to see if anyone had a junk/unregistered car/vehicle on their property and if they did they got a bill! Didn’t matter if the vehicle belonged to the property owner or not. Yeah. Gotta love this town. Really, ya do, if ya didn’t, like any bratty child you’d smack it once or twice, then send it to its room. If we’re not spending money on idiotic things like that we’re tossing it away on ‘art’ in the form of the Fudgy the Whale-Tail Fountain or murals destined to be hideous painted on buildings downtown that we’ll all have to look at for the next decade.
We NEVER spend money on something reasonable. Something sane. Something that might actually better the City and not just be a pretty Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
Case in point: Today my hubby complained to me about our sidewalk…again. He doesn’t understand. He really doesn’t. He wants to do the work himself…hey! So do I! But if we do that, and help the City out a bit, we’ll get fined and we’ll have to dig it up. If we bitch/whine/moan and complain to the City long enough we might get somewhere so long as we pay ‘our end’.
Yeah. Somewhere along the line it seems I purchased half the sidewalk! Imagine that! I don’t even remember doing it but, according to the City I must have because they want ME to pay for half the cost of replacing the sidewalk. Several years ago that cost came waltzing into my life to the breezing tune of $4,000.00….that’s my HALF of the cost of fixing/replacing the SIDEWALK. (Is the new one gonna be gold plated???) OR, being ever magnanimous and truly moronic, the City will let me do Community Service to work off my HALF. When was I arrested? Tried? Convicted? Or did I plead out? I…I…I can’t remember!
OK, so we’re all on the same page here….
This is my driveway. Like the ditch at the end? I’ve displayed these pics in “large” size so you can get a good idea of what’s going on here. BUT feel free to click any of the images to make them MUCH bigger and get a bonzer idea of what I’m talkin’ about.
Nice, huh? As you can see it spreads out into the street, of which as far as I’m aware, I do NOT “own” half. You’ll notice my cat Harry in some of these shots, he was kind enough to walk along with me this morning to help give some ‘depth’ to the problem.
Let’s take a walk. I want to show you my lovely sidewalk. You know, the one that’s been deteriorating for the last 40 years..well it’s longer, more like fifty but let’s just use 40 it makes me feel younger. The sidewalk my PARENTS tried to get the City to FIX and the one the City wanted to stick ME with a bill for repairs. The City’s theory on this is that their property (the sidewalk) is ‘adjacent’ to my property so that, somehow in La-La Land, makes me, the homeowner, half responsible for any ‘neglect’ that need repairs.
Ya know, it’s really difficult for a home/property owner to ‘neglect’ something they do not own and, by City Ordinances, they are not ALLOWED to repair in any fashion. The only thing a property/home owner is ALLOWED to do to ‘maintain’ “their” sidewalk is; shovel it and, in my case, I mow it every weekend in the summer. I know that because when my Dad put down some hot-top to cover the really nasty holes one year, someone from the City came by and bitched at him, wanted to give him a fine and make him dig it up. Needless to say, my Dad never again tried to ‘fix’ the sidewalk. So, would someone please tell me how this ‘neglect’ falls on any shoulders other than those of the City of New London? Please? I’m beggin’ ya here. Kindly remember, I pay just about $4,000/year in TAXES just to have the privilege of living in this city. I was under the impression TAX MONEY was supposed to go to FIX things like THIS. I know, I know…silly me.
Do you remember that old game some of used to play; Step on a Crack, Break Your Mother’s Back? Wow, I can’t tell you how much “fun” we had as kids playing that game on my sidewalk. Yes, that’s 40 years ago. It was a hard game then. It’s even harder now. I have (roughly) 100 feet of property along the front of my house. You will now see what I do every day when I walk out my door and what my neighbors see and what the poor people who try to walk down the street see. Now, let’s stroll without words.
WOW! That was nice, huh? Aren’t you glad you stopped by my house today??? I’m tellin’ ya it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen and I really am hoping and praying that I’m the one that trips and falls so I can sue the shit out of them. If I weren’t such an honest person I’d have faked a fall by now.
Ok, so if that’s not bad enough. The City of New London, all those years ago when they attempted to get my entire neighborhood to pony up for new sidewalks included in MY “bill” a charge to “replace curbstones”. Check it out.
See any curbstones or remnants thereof? Me either. Know why? They were never there. That’s why I have that lovely long ditch now. You can see where the City was SUPPOSED to put them but…they never did.
If THAT’s not an accident waiting to happen, I really don’t know what is. One day someone’s going to slip off that, twist their ankle, break their legs, or God forbid, their neck, and…well….I have insurance. I hope the City of New London does too.
Sweet, huh? And, yes, that long ditch runs about half the length of the sidewalk. One more shot for ya, just for a little ‘depth’.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to try to SHOVEL that sidewalk in the winter? Do you have any idea how many shovels we’ve BROKEN on those damn craters? Or how many times my teeth have gnashed together when hitting one and the jolt went from the tip of the shovel, through the handle, up my arm, sometimes forcing the handle into my chest? Seriously. Do you?
I WOULD LOVE to FIX this MYSELF. But…I can’t. In most spots, it wouldn’t cost more than $50.00. As far as the sidewalk itself goes, hell, throw a few pounds of soil on it, cover it with grass seed and I’ll keep happily mowing it in relative safety. OR we could do like the town of Waterford did when faced with a similar problem. They got SMART! They hot-topped entire sidewalks in less than TWO DAYS and it looks GREAT. It was cheap as hell too.
When you look at all of the above, I don’t know what you think but I conclude that the City of New London is an “absentee landlord”. It doesn’t care about its citizens or the property it owns and is supposed to maintain. In fact, nearly everything in this city as been left to “citizen’s groups” to pick up the slack. So where’s my TAX MONEY going???? To fund crap schools that graduate kids that can’t spell? To pay Board Members who do nothing but argue so much the STATE told them to “sit down and shut up”? To put up works of ‘art’ that…well..aren’t very artistic at all? Certainly don’t do anything to add real value to the city. They may (or may not) look pretty but so does a super model, difference is the model EARNS MONEY. Fudgy the Whale-Tail Fountain does not.
It’s time the City of New London stopped funding bone-head projects and got down to brass tacks. Down to actually taking care of the nuts and bolts of the city. But in New London, just like in most of the rest of the country we “just fix what shows” (Gallagher). Oh well, sorry, my mistake. Obviously we can’t fix the IMPORTANT things ‘that show’ just the bullshit that makes it ‘look pretty’ in the hopes no one notices the major stuff.
Yes, please, don’t pay any attention to the man behind the curtain. Just look ahead of you be…I’d say dazzled but that’s so not the right word. Just look ahead of you and be bewildered by the ‘wonder of it all’. (Foxwoods)
It’s a wonder all right. If you wonder on it too long you might just lose your mind.
I am a life long resident of the City of New London, CT. You can read more posts about my hometown by Clicking Here
Posted on May 17, 2012, in Life, new london, Politics and tagged new london, new london connecticut, new london fire fighters, new london firefighters, new london politics, new london sidewalks, politics, poor management, your tax dollars at work. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.