Mayor’s State Of The City Address Should Recieve More Attention

Two items in Mayor Sam Teresi’s State of the City address haven’t received much attention yet.

They should.

Teresi made note during his annual goal-setting speech to the City Council of his desire to work with the Salvation Army and Chautauqua County Land Bank to find an appropriate site for a new shelter for women and children within the greater Jamestown area. Teresi also made known his desire to work with local landlords to launch an enhanced version of the Rental Property Registration Program.

Both are items that should happen this year.

It is long past the time for the Anew Center to have a new home. Two potential sites have been scuttled in the past two years after safety concerns were raised by neighbors. While the search continues for a suitable site that meets the needs of Anew Center clients and staff, those who use the current building are dealing with an old mansion that doesn’t have enough space and isn’t suitable for the handicapped or elderly.

While the issue isn’t necessarily a city government issue, it’s good to see Teresi putting it squarely on his agenda for the coming year. Hopefully, more people working on a solution will yield positive results for those who need the Anew Center.

Rental registration, meanwhile, is squarely a city government issue. Past rental registration efforts have been driven by either the City Council’s Housing Committee or non-profits like the Jamestown Renaissance Corp. Unfortunately, the current registration law is woefully inadequate; something The Post-Journal reported in 2015. It only requires the location of the rental unit, number of rental units, the name, physical address, PO Box and telephone number of all deeded owners of the property and contact information for a designated person authorized to show apartments, collect rents, issue receipts, accept notices from a tenant and accept service of legal process for the recorded owner. Too often, that basic information doesn’t help people who need to get ahold of their landlord, which is unacceptable when the furnace breaks in the middle of a cold snap like we endured earlier this week.

Jamestown shouldn’t try to fleece landlords with exorbitant fees, but the city should have adequate information about who is running rental units and a mechanism other than Jamestown City Court to keep band landlords in line. A rental registration policy that both landlords and the city can live with is needed. While we think a new policy is long overdue, we’re glad Teresi is making it a priority for 2019.