City officials always seem to be promoting a solution to this or that problem. Seldom do they discuss why the problem exists in the first place. How can you solve a problem if you don't know why it exists?
Consider the various proposals to keep area homes in good condition. So why are some home owners allowing their properties to deteriorate? We need to know the answer to that question before we can shape policy to address the problem.
Are the property owners in question just bad people who don't care or are they making rational investment decisions? If your answer is the former, then you might like spanking them with fines, new ordinances etc... but perhaps they are acting rationally.
What rational person would allow their property to deteriorate and decrease in value? Well, first we must understand that spending money on home maintainence is just one of millions of investment choices available to us. Are new windows a smarter investment than car repairs, school tuition, a 401K contribution? Perhaps some property owners have detirmined that property improvements in Racine are not a good investment.
Property taxes are high in Racine. Property improvements cost money AND result in even higher property taxes year after year. Property owners can't pick up and move their homes to avoid the high taxes but they can gradually divest from Racine. They can allow their properties to decline in value while choosing to invest their money elsewhere - where they think they will get a better return.
We can villify them, harrass them, or fine them and hasten their exit from Racine. But nobody is taking their place - we have a declining population.
A far better idea is to ask whether such people are behaving rationally, and if so, we should respond with rational policies to address the problem.