Dear Mayor Rawlings-Blake,

In response to your letter in the Sun, I’d like to remind you that many Republicans inside and outside of Baltimore City, including me, have offered this City a great deal of time, money, and energy — along with solutions for raising tax revenue.  Yet, because we carry the stigma of the Red R — our ideas and willingness to help create a better city are usually rebuffed at every turn.

Here are three ideas you may want to reconsider.  Just for a moment, pretend I’m a a Democrat — maybe it will make things more palatable for you:

1.  Increase the tax on vacant structures, in order to offset the increased demand on city services.  Fires, code enforcement, and court time (including the salaries of our hard-working Housing attorneys) all cost money.  Money that taxpayers shouldn’t be paying — the owners of these blighted structures should be paying.  Raise it enough, perhaps following the DC model, and the property taxes of residents could be decreased in a way that would make Baltimore City competitive with other jurisdictions.

2.  Speaking of fires…How about we fully-fund our fire department so prospective residents won’t have to worry about their new homes burning to the ground shortly after purchase?

3.  Start investing in residents and communities, not just the harbor.  I’m trying to revive Councilman Cole’s “Outer Harbor Initiative” with affordable housing for middle-income folks.  Care to join in?  It would reduce the number of vacants, and draw in middle-income taxpayers — two things you sorely need right now.

Thanks, and as always, I’m available any time to chat.

Carol Ott

PS:  Here are some other random ideas I’ve had over the years.  Feel free to borrow any, I try to be a giver.

An Idea for Lead Paint Restitution

An Idea for the Vacants

What to Do With Slumlords?  An Idea!





  1. classic8art

    So those who buy a vacant and rehab it are taxed already/fined already, even while investing many hundreds or thousands into the house and paying exorbitant taxes.

    Deborah . Thank you.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      If you leave the vacant to rot and become a nuisance to the community and a drain on city services, yes.

    • Pete from Highlandtown

      Most of the laws concerning vacant housing that have been suggested, give an owner at least a year to fix up their property. So nobody is suggesting that someone be fined two weeks after buying a vacanthouse

  2. scott meek

    Works for me; if we have to pay all this city money on these vacant places, we should be recouping that money by fining and taxing slumlords into oblivion. It’s the only thing that will change the situation: hit them in the pocketbook.

    • Baltimore Slumlord Watch

      Agreed. There’s no reason why someone’s property should be allowed to become a drain on the city coffers — taxpayers are tired of this…time for it to END. Particularly when you multiply that by thousands of properties, and also take into account how little property taxes they pay on these structures. The cost/debt ratio is astounding, when you consider how much it costs to send the police, the fire department, and other city agencies to deal with the mess someone left when they decided their property (and the surrounding community) wasn’t worth their time and money.

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