Consumer alert: Rochester mayor outlines housing quality progress
Renters, the mayor says his task force is coming to the rescue. That was the message at his press conference Wednesday morning. I’ve been investigating Rochester’s housing crisis for well over a year. And there’s no doubt the mayor is acting on the 16 recommendations made by his Housing Quality Task Force. Rochester Mayor Malik Evans created that task force last year to come up with a blueprint for improvement. And we’re seeing change in some areas, one of which is code enforcement.
In June of last year, I told the mayor that renters’ chief complaint is that code enforcement has no teeth.
“Well, it’s going to have teeth now,” Mayor Evans retorted. “Not only is it going to have teeth, it’s going to have saber tooth tiger teeth!”
More than 60 percent of Flower City residents rent, and an independent analysis last year found that half of that housing is substandard. So, the mayor says those saber tooth tiger teeth include hiring and training more code enforcement officers, hiring a housing attorney and increasing fines, as well as creating a property management portal so managers and landlords can better oversee properties and address code violations.
But perhaps the most controversial change is the creation of a property code compliance scorecard, allowing renters to go online and view a manager’s track record of code compliance, or lack thereof.
And on Wednesday, the mayor referenced those saber tooth tiger teeth again.
“Last time I said we’re going to add some teeth,” he said. “They were baby teeth before but now they’re saber tooth tiger teeth. Someone found that funny, and I now have on my desk a saber tooth tiger as a reminder of the teeth we need to have.”
So, I wanted to see that for myself. His staff sent me a picture of the mayor and the tiger on his desk which bares the teeth he says code enforcement now has.
But the city can’t do it alone. One of their initiatives is the home rehab program. The city provides grants to help landlords improve their properties. But the city doesn’t have enough contractors. If you’re a contractor and need steady work, city leaders say you can call 585-428-6963. Or you can click here for more information.