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“Let’s try something, even if it’s wrong.”
That apparent misguidance may have merit in two current situations in Perry County.
In one, county-council members are attempting to undo a long process the county commissioners finished up in December. In the other, the mayor of Cannelton is suggesting an ordinance protecting renters be rescinded.
Before the county commissioners did their part, others worked hard as members of a committee examining the county’s need for an animal-control ordinance.
Members of the council are entitled to their opinions, but it is the county commissioners who enact legislation at this level.
Some county councilmen have suggested a 2005 ordinance should be examined to see where inadequacies that supposedly made it unenforceable can be tweaked. Its beauty is its simplicity, they have said.
We have to assume the committee that drafted the new ordinance considered that. They were handed a large responsibility and they met it. Concerns were expressed about what they had produced and they made changes to address them.
In Cannelton, concerns were expressed that renters are forced by their circumstances to live in deplorable conditions. Examples cited were holes in floors and walls, lack of running water and other problems that none of our neighbors should endure. Councilwoman Kim Nugent said when she was running for re-election the ordinance would help in her role “securing the future of this community for our youth and all those who live here in Cannelton.”
On behalf of city residents of all ages, we agree with Nugent and add that a secure future can be solidified with decent standards enforced today. We also agree with something she said at last week’s council meeting. Councilman Jack Harris said the new rental ordinance should be rescinded.
“If we rescind it now, it’ll never come back on the table,” she told him. “This place has fell apart for 20 years.” The only housing inspector in the 30 years that she’s lived in Cannelton who ever enforced any rules concerning “these people running roughshod over these rental houses was Bruce Myers,” she added.
Every law should be considered a living document, a tool that can be further adapted as needs are identified. That is the case with both new ordinances. Those entrusted with implementing them will quickly learn of any shortcomings. We trust they will address any concerns that arise.
Both ordinances were enacted by people concerned about their communities. We urge those who would stand in the way of their implementation to not only step aside, but to put their support behind the efforts to protect the people and animals the ordinances would serve.
If one or both fail, the intentions behind them will be no less noble and we will have a clearer view of the road toward “securing the future of this community.”
Let’s allow these ordinances time to serve their purposes before we decide to waste all of the effort that went into them. The easiest thing in the world is to do nothing more than say “it’ll never work.”
That would be wrong.
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