Fighting Blight, Benefiting our Seniors
Conservatively, there are hundreds of blighted homes and properties throughout Erie County. We must take measurable steps to prevent this situation from becoming worse. My policies to fight blight will bring in NEW REVENUE through rental real estate inspections. This new revenue will not be used for more government programs but rather invested back into human capital. We will utilize the revenue to lower the property taxes inflicted upon our low income senior citizens. A small amount of relief can be the difference when a resident lives on a fixed income!
Existing blight can be combated by applying appropriate resources already available to the county. Our county prison system holds on average 600 inmates on any given day. We will utilize maximum efforts to match inmates with work programs that prepare a person to transition back into society with viable work experience and skills while providing a HUGE cost savings on community services rendered. Erie County Prison and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections inmates can successfully complete community service projects; clean-ups, park projects, blighted properties, summer time school property restoration, and other various projects that will greatly reduce burdens normally placed upon tax payers.
Let’s look at the normal costs of labor associated with one individual, based upon a 50 hour work week being paid the standard government contractor labor rate to include prevailing wage, applicable insurance, and overhead costs associated with government service contractor requirements.
ONE Service Contractor @ 50 hrs per week x $65.00/hr = $3250 base + $975 Overtime = $4225 weekly x 52 weeks = $219,700.00 annual cost to tax payers
Annual Cost of Housing ONE inmate at the Erie County Prison: $36,000.00
Each Inmate has the potential to learn viable skills and invest within our community and save tax payers : $183,700.00 annually per inmate AFTER the costs of incarceration.
If Erie County can successfully employ 300 inmates per year @ $183,700.00 per inmate this would equate to $55.1 million dollars in sweat equity placed back into our communities at a tax payer cost of $10.8 million. This is a return on tax payer invest of over 500%. What a difference this could make!!
Increased blighted areas often correlate to increased crime within those geographic regions. It is important to not only reduce blight throughout the county to increase appeal and dissuade future crime, we must work to prevent it! This is a WIN/WIN program implemented WITHOUT SPENDING A SINGLE ADDITIONAL TAX DOLLAR! Reduction of blight increases the aesthetic appeal of our neighborhoods, reduces crime, raises property values, and increases further private investment within our communities.