As city officials experiment with various punitive measures to address the declining condition of housing stock in Racine, they would be wise to consider their own role in creating the problem.
Consider that despite a declining population in Racine, the city has within the last several years approved two large and partially low income/rent subsidized projects, the Mitchell Wagon Lofts and Belle Harbor. Agencies abound to subsidize or pay outright the rent for these and other low income residences. No doubt about it, Racine officials love to help/enable the poor with your money.
Of course, someone has to pay for all this generosity. Said generosity is paid for in taxes. Racine's property tax rate is 50% higher than neighboring Wind Point, as an example. At some point, some people will decide that the costs, financial and otherwise, associated with a "give us your poor and huddled masses" government policy is too great to bear. So they will try to sell their home for which there are no buyers. This home is destined to become a rental property because of Racine's government, as buying a home and paying taxes is too expensive while all kinds of help is there for low income renters.
So the city adds a few hundred newly constructed, subsidized and TIFed housing units for the poor. Then what happens? They leave the neighborhoods for the good stuff. The landlord who owns a property or two in Racine is now competing, essentially, with the government that was instrumental in financing the new and better low income housing. They still have mortgages and taxes to pay, so something has to give. Perhaps they stop maintaining the property or they take in a marginal tenant. And this is the situation we find ourselves in now.
Harsh ordinances and fines will fix this problem, right?