Thursday, January 17, 2008

15 January 2008 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

15 January 2008 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes
Please note that the following notes were graciously supplied by Helen Kremer due to my absence.

Present: Jeff Hughes, President, Rick Fox and Ralph Thompson, Commissioners, Bryan Messmore, Administrator, Robert Ewbank, County Attorney, and Cary Pickens, Auditor.

6:30 p.m. Jeff Hughes opened the meeting with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Old business – Employee Manual – Approval was tabled until the Commissioners had time to read the highlighted changes. Cary Pickens stated there were only 4-5 pages with changes. Ralph Thompson motioned to table, and Rick Fox seconded the motion.

Bill Black, Jr., Emergency Management Agency—before presenting his request, commented on the employee manual. He suggested that there be wording that certain employees are reimbursed for overtime (i.e., he and Todd Listerman). To be reimbursed by FEMA, in case of an overtime need, there has to be a stated standard (in the manual). Rick Fox told Bill Black to draft a letter stating how it should be worded.

Black then continued with his request to go to Council. He presented the Commissioners with a drawing of what they want to do with their building. They had a chain link fence with plastic as a wall, and they want Harry Belso to put a solid wall there instead of the plastic fence. A solid wall could be used for cages for storage and locked areas. The request was for $84,000. Also, the building needed repair downspouts, etc. Ralph Thompson said you need a bid for $84,000. Rick Fox added that it sounded like two requests, one for the building, and the other to maintain the building, and Cary Pickens stated money was tight. A discussion was held regarding the reasons for the solid wall. Ralph Thompson motioned to approve Bill Black to ask Council to authorize funds for gutters, associated drain lines, catch basins, etc., and Rick Fox seconded the motion.

Cary Pickens said that Eric Hartmann years ago had funds appropriated for this maintenance. Ralph Thompson asked Bill Black to find out what happened to the appropriated funds for the maintenance, and why it wasn’t completed. Bryan Messmore stated that there were several people Hartmann had to get input from, and perhaps it just didn’t get finished.

Donna Thacker of CASA asked for approval for grant recommendations. She stated they did not spend all of the money allocated; they wanted to build some funds. Ralph Thompson asked if CASA can carry money over, and she replied yes. Thompson motioned to approve three grants for $16,449, $21,490, and $17,500 and Rick Fox seconded.

Gary Hensley, Assessor, Annual Contracts/New Construction – Gary Hensley presented two contracts for renewal. Hensley stated the annual contract for a ratio study will be close to $45,000 this year, because of annual adjustment costs incurred. They may request another bidder because they are not satisfied with the current contractor’s performance. Gary Hensley continued that they are very pleased with the work of the company with the new assessment contract.

Cary Pickens stated that Gary Hensley is informing the Commissioners of the expenditures, Hensley can approve them, but anything over $25,000 should be brought to the Commissioners for their information for these contracts. Hensley stated he is under a strict timeline, due March 1st, and he would like to get something there ahead of time.

Rick Fox told him to move forward.

Planning and Zoning – Mark McCormack - The first issue was the I-74 Route 1/St. Leon bridge update. Mark stated it has been three months since they corresponded with INDOT. The only information they have received is an off-the-cuff remark to Todd Listerman, that they might be broadening their scope. Ralph Thompson said a phone call should be made to see where this matter stands. Todd Listerman said he would call.

The next items were proposed changes to the Dearborn County Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Control Ordinance, Article 2, Section 236 – Improvement Plan Approval Process, Subdivision Control Ordinance, and Article 23, Section 2335 – Changes or Amendments to Approved Site Plans, DC Zoning Ordinance. Mark McCormack stated at the December 18, 2007, Plan Commission Meeting, the vote was unanimous for these proposed Ordinances. McCormack explained that there has been a series of requests over time regarding grading and erosion control issues, and people want the county to become involved. Now there are two ways to resolve the issue, going to the Building Commission, or the State of Indiana. The Building Commission had issues with this process and the State of Indiana takes four to six months to address an issue. Jennifer Hughes of Soil and Conservation has the same problem, she writes a report and it goes to Indianapolis.

Rick Fox said someone has the power to stop work—who has ruling authority? Just go downstairs (Building Commission) and take care of it, and he believed Todd Listerman also had jurisdiction.

Todd Listerman replied that he did not have jurisdiction, we could call Don Townsend, and tell them someone is creating a hazard, and to clean it up, but if there is no house being built, there is no one with jurisdiction.

Bob Ewbank submitted the opinion that without these Ordinances, there could be situations that would be injurious to health and property, and the Plan Commission is in the best position to go out and say stop, along with the Plan Commission Attorney. Ewbank continued because of the bureaucracy we have now, there is no way to implement compliance, and the only way to do so is with the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission can get an injunction if they have an ordinance with the power to stop work.

Rick Fox stated he saw Bob’s side of it, and hopes Don Townsend gets a copy of this; he didn’t want this to be a power play.

Bob Ewbank asked Mark how often they inspected—did they have a prioritized list? Mark McCormack replied they randomly do inspections, and complaints get attention first. Ewbank stated the Planning Office was in the best position to preserve the health, safety, and well being of community. Jeff Hughes stated there needs to be accountability.

Jeff Hughes wanted a definition of public welfare. Bob Ewbank said it was a short way of describing benefits to the public. Jeff Hughes stated he wanted the wording, health and safety, to be used. Ralph Thompson motioned they move to encompass Article 2, Section 236, and Article 23, Section 2335. Rick Fox seconded the motion, all ayes.

Mark McCormack will meet with Rick Fox on Friday, regarding Comprehensive Plan language update, to meet and address concerns. Mark can meet with Jeff Hughes also, and he asked Ralph Thompson too, to meet sometime this week or next week, regarding this issue.

Transportation Department – Todd Listerman and Margaret Minzer, GIS coordinator, demonstrated the link to GIS tables with road improvements for the county, and each project has a place on the map. Margaret Minzer demonstrated Collier Ridge, showing survey costs, and general planning information for projects.

Jeff Hughes stated we should go to County Council and get funds on-line for roads, using gambling revenue for large projects which are needed, because the timetable from the state could be 2015, 2016, or leveraged to 2030. Todd Listerman stated regarding areas such as North Dearborn Road, Stateline Rd., Jamison, and Salt Fork Rds., we won’t get Federal dollars for bonding situation, and the increases in annual costs range from $5,000-$10,000.

Rick Fox asked if they were ready to get on board and go to council and ask to borrow money from Lawrenceburg at a cheap rate. A discussion followed about the rate of interest being either 3% or more. Rick Fox told Todd Listerman to prepare a list of key projects, and itemize them out. Jeff Hughes said he will be at the Council meeting, and so did Ralph Thompson, who has attended the meetings. The three Dearborn County Commissioners will be attending the County Council Meeting next Tuesday night, January 23, 2008 regarding the request for gambling revenue to be used for county roads.

Ralph Thompson asked about the Artemis system. Listerman stated OKI and INDOT are on board with the ramp on our part of I-275. Head of Artemis construction regarding project re 128, is not all the way out. We will have one board on ramp itself, and two cameras on I-275 from the ramp.

Jeff Hughes said they needed to get the OKI yearly contract signed, because we receive Federal money since we are part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Council approved $16,000. Bob Ewbank said the contract was the same we had last year. Ralph Thompson motioned the Commissioners to sign the agreement that Council has approved. Rick Fox seconded.

Cary Pickens presented to the Commissioners the Covered Bridge Certification, the Inter-local agreement for lobbyists for services, and the EMS contracts for Lawrenceburg and Aurora. Rick Fox motioned to sign all three items, and Ralph Thompson seconded all three items.

Cary Pickens asked for approval of claims. Rick Fox asked if he pulled some out, and the reply was affirmative. Ralph Thompson motioned to approve claims with exceptions, and Rick Fox seconded. The Commissioners also approved, as amended the minutes of December 18, 2008.

Bryan Messmore gave a presentation concerning insurance. Rick Fox motioned to approve the same insurance level at the current rate, and Ralph Thompson seconded.

Messmore also said the Hometown Competitiveness Program declined their request because we did not meet the evaluation criteria. Bryan believed the Rural Development Committee might have thought we have a lot of talent and resources available, and other communities have less.

Bob Ewbank said there is a new case involving the Sheriff’s Department, and an employee, regarding alleged slander. The insurance company attorney is to represent us. There are also two new tort claims regarding auto accidents, but there is no liability, due to being covered by insurance.

Ralph Thompson brought up the time for the Commissioners meetings, asking the meetings to be changed to 7 p.m. Rick Fox said it did not work for him; in fact, he would like it to be 6 p.m. Ralph Thompson said just leave the time at 6:30 p.m.

Bryan Messmore was asked by Rick Fox about information regarding employees insurance, and suggested that a letter of what we accomplished be provided. Ralph Thompson said a fact sheet insert could be used.

The Commissioners agreed to meet for a Finance meeting next week. Rick Fox motioned to adjourn the meeting, and Ralph Thompson seconded.

Submitted by Helen Kremer
Logan Township


Anonymous said...

Thu Jan 17, 6:34 PM ET

WASHINGTON - The steep slump in housing intensified at the end of last year, pushing home construction down by the biggest amount in nearly three decades.


Analysts forecast more bad news in the months ahead with the big question remaining whether the housing slump will be severe enough to push the country into a recession.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that construction was started on 1.353 million new homes and apartments last year, down 24.8 percent from 2006. It was the second biggest annual decline on record, exceeded only by a 26 percent plunge in 1980.

The year ended on a weak note with construction dropping by 14.2 percent in December and applications for new building permits, a good indicator of future activity, falling for a seventh consecutive month, indicating that activity will be weak at least through the spring of this year.

Economists said the current housing slump has already surpassed the 1990 downturn and will likely rival, if not surpass, the prolonged housing downturn in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a period when the Federal Reserve was pushing interest rates to the highest levels since the Civil War in a successful effort to halt a decade-long bout of high inflation.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's, is forecasting that median sales prices for existing homes will fall by 2.5 percent for all of 2007, which would be the first annual price decline on records that go back four decades.

"I think this housing downturn will be unprecedented in terms of its breadth across the country and in its severity," Zandi said. "I don't think we have seen anything like this, certainly since the Great Depression, and back then housing was much less of a factor in terms of the overall economy because fewer people owned their own homes."

The troubles in housing and other areas of the economy are expected to push overall economic growth to 1 percent or less, meaning the economy will be very near the stall level of a recession.

Growing fears of a recession helped to push stock prices sharply lower again on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 306.95 points to close at 12,159.21, its lowest close since last March. The Dow's frequent triple-digit declines since the start of the year mean that the index has now given back all of its 2007 gains.

Various recent reports have increased recession worries and spurred President Bush and members of Congress into talks about offering an economic stimulus either to prevent a downturn or at least make it less painful and prolonged. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spoke out in favor of a stimulus package in congressional testimony on Thursday.

The drop in construction in December was bigger than economists had been expecting and reflected weakness in all parts of the country. Housing construction fell by 30.8 percent in the Midwest and was down 25.8 percent in the Northeast and 19.6 percent in the West. The decline in the South was a smaller 3.3 percent.

Economists said the weakness showed that the housing correction was getting worse since the turmoil in financial markets hit in August. Those problems, which have resulted in billions of dollars of losses at financial instutitions, reflected rising defaults for subprime mortgages, loans offered to borrowers with weak credit histories.

Those defaults have dumped even more houses on an already glutted market and prompted banks to tighten their lending standards, making it harder for potential buyers to qualify for loans, delivering a double whammy on builders.

They have been slashing production and offering major incentives to move homes but still face a huge glut of unsold inventories. Analysts said the big decline in construction in December showed builders are intensifying their efforts to reduce the over-supply of homes.

"Builders have finally thrown in the towel," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "This is a precondition for recovery as it will eventually reduce the inventory overhang. But there is a long way to go."

For December, housing starts totaled 1.006 million units at an annual rate, while building permits fell by 8.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.068 million units.

A survey of builder sentiment prepared by the National Association of Home Builders came in at the second-lowest level on record in January at a reading of 19.

David Seiders, chief economist for the home builders, said he believed construction activity would bottom out this spring and start to improve slowly in the second half of this year. But other economists were not as optimistic, saying the turnaround in housing may not come until 2009.

Anonymous said...

Now is a time for long term planning, not rushing sub-standard sewers around the county to help Maxwell and friends buttress themselves for the coming bad times at our expense.

Anonymous said...

The only way some of our more politically connected realtor/developers can make a buck in the coming years is to be able to buy rural land at rural land prices and then use their influence to have the land rezoned while putting the cost of running sewers out to their rural land on the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

We are in a housing glut. People can't give away their homes. So lets saddle them with tens of thousands of dollars of debt to connect up to sewers to aid our local development class. Sounds like a great idea. This must be why these guys try to pull this crap off out of sight and ear shot of the voters. Thank you John Watson, Lisa Lehner and the ever special Bob Ewbank for enabling all of this. You fit the standard definition of the public's perception of lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from this week's Journal:

The South Dearborn Regional Sewer District voted to "terminate" Dennis Feichtner's contract as superintendent after 29 years in a special meeting Monday, Jan. 14.
The termination is due to Feichtner's failure to "perform all of the duties as Superintendent" as required by his contract, according to a written statement by SDRSD attorney Matt Zerbe.
According to the statement, a board investigation "revealed other evidence of misconduct.

I wonder what the evidence is of other misconduct?

I wonder where such evidence will lead?

I wonder if any of us will even be surprised?

Anonymous said...

"The only way some of our more politically connected realtor/developers can make a buck in the coming years is to..."

And that is the job description and mandate of the dcrsd!!!

It exists for no other reason!!!

It is just a tool for the Maxwells and Ewbanks of this County to meet their need to encourage development to better their bottomlines at the extreme expense of the rest of us!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

How are Jeff Hughes' phone calls coming? Is he still doing the "heavy-lifting" for his development bosses to cancel out any and all efforts that do not coincide with his development bosses' demands?

Anonymous said...

and High Ridge still flows to Hogans Creek

Anonymous said...

And after Rodney Dennerline got his, he was thinking "out loud" at a dcrsd meeting about the County just buying out High Ridge. Scammers all.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean this little gem:

"RD: May be cheaper to buy out Highridge Estates, than to fix the problem. The people at Highridge Estates have no options. I would hate to be in their shoes."

Anonymous said...

Anyone seeing any trenching equipment in John Maxwell's front yard heading from his home to the sewer line in his front yard?

Anonymous said...

"Anyone seeing any trenching equipment in John Maxwell's front yard heading from his home to the sewer line in his front yard?"





Bob Ewbank:


Anonymous said...

"I would hate to be in their shoes."

Are those new shoes you wearing, Rodney?

Anonymous said...

Dennis Feichtner may be a good choice to fill one of the vacancies on the dcrsd.

Anonymous said...

We should not pre-judge Mr. Feichtner's alleged misconduct. It may not reach the level where he would even be persuaded to join the ranks of the dcrsd board. The dcrsd has a reputation to keep up don't you know.

Anonymous said...

Remember Gary, Bob, John and the commissioner dipsy-twins, THINK LINK while you attend the Sodrel breakfast!

Anonymous said...

I bet they will be having sausage "links" at the breakfast.

Anonymous said...

John says I want whole hog sausage , no wait I want the whole damn hog !

Anonymous said...

Will Bob Ewbank force Rick and Jeff to pre-chew John's sausage?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Ewbank and Morris can get Sodrel to support their next non-republican development owned choice to run against the republican rank and files' choice during this years' general election?

Anonymous said...

I heard Baron Hill is going to cook up the breakfast himself for Rick, Jeff, Bob, John, Fehrman and Liz and Gary Morris, next time CONGRESSMAN HILL comes to town!!!

Anonymous said...

In Sodrel's past campaigns, was he ever petty and niggling enough to throw his support to the democrats when the republican primary voters did not bestow and bequeath upon him his perceived "entitlement" of nominee of the party?

Or is such pettiness and small-mindedness only limited to just our local RINO bozos?

Would Sodrel sink low enough to not only spit into the eye of the republican primary voter, then after chucking his support to the democrat, settle back into two, two mind you, republican patronage jobs, further chafing the taxpayer teat as he continues to gorge on the taxpayers’ mother’s milk?

Has he ever been that unscrupulous and unprincipled of an individual?

Anonymous said...

Sodrel is a self-made man with a brain. He does not need the promise of some charity jobs to keep him in line. Intelligent and financially independent, Sodrel would be the last type of republican Ewbank and Morris would support for a county elected position. They need their politicians financially hungry and slow of wit. The type of politician who views the ring in his/her nose as somehow a token of love and respect from their "keepers."

Anonymous said...

For those of us who had prior commitments, could someone post a brief summary how the breakfast went?

Anonymous said...

Yes please, someone give us a run down of events of the breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Any hope of Sodrel getting us some federal dollars to clean up Hogans and Double Lick Creek's sewage contamination from all our septic systems?

Could Sodrel get Maxwell's home put on some federal registry celebrating Maxwell's construction and maintenance of one the very few septic systems that are still functional in the entire nation?

Anonymous said...

After all the Dearborn County Republican Leadership has done for Mr. Sodrel, was there any friction evident at the breakfast between the Leadership and Mr. Sodrel as to his not lending any support whatsoever to Mr. Linkmeyer last Commissioners' race?

Are we just supposed to support Mr. Sodrel, but he owes us no support back in return?

Anonymous said...

Get a life people.

Look at yourselves.

I see nothing but a bunch of losers that really have nothing to do but this blog.

It's an addiction and sad.

And the best thing is you will respond to this post with the same shit.

You are impossible.

Anonymous said...

"You are impossible."

How ya doing?

Thinking about the May primary?

What ya going to do come the general?

Run a Socialist?

Or someone from the Green party?

Anonymous said...

Well, if don't like this blog, create your own.

Anonymous said...

An addiction, such as yours, to political power and greed will just keep coming back at you and biting you on your ass and ankles. Look what it has done for you so far? Just think, if you had acted like ethical adults last commissioners’ election, if you would have sucked it up and shut it up and accepted the primary vote, you would not be in the predicament you are in today. Your two shills would not be the damaged goods they are today. And you would have had a chance to retain your majority. But your addiction power and greed, just would not let you do that. You had to try and throw that disgraceful and reprehensible lowlife political “Hail Mary Pass” and throw your support to the developer democrat. Making it near impossible for your two shills to make it through their next primary. The person or persons who came up with such an idea, lost you the commissioners’ office. Politically speaking, you built and climbed inside your own political coffin and pull shut the lid. All that is left is for the voters to lower you into the ground.

Anonymous said...

Look at yourselves.

I take it you development crooks have no mirrors?

Look what you have become!

Look how you conduct yourselves!

Look how low you are willing to go to make a buck!

Look what you have done to OUR Party!

You sold it to the highest bidder!

You have become political whores!

Anonymous said...

You have become political whores!

Ralph Thompson ran in the primary on a platform that the local republican party leadership was bought and paid for by development interests.

So what does the bought and paid for leadership do after Ralph wins the primary?

They removed all doubt and scurried to prove they are bought and paid for by development interests.

Going as far as encouraging and supporting a democrat developer to run against the republican nominee.


Anonymous said...

Another good reason not to throw good money after bad by forcing existing homeowners to subsidize the development of new homes:

"Home Sellers' Pain Is Renters' Gain
by Nick Timiraos
Thursday, January 17, 2008
provided by

There's one bright side to the housing crisis: some lower rents.

The regions hardest hit by the housing downturn have seen ailing builders, rising foreclosure rates and a glut of unsold homes, amid other signs of distress. But there are also stories like Laura Evans's.

The 38-year-old elementary-school teacher moved to Stuart, Fla., from Orlando with her husband and baby last fall. Looking for a rental apartment, they were pleasantly surprised: There were plenty of choices at lower-than-expected prices, thanks to the multitude of owners trying to rent units they couldn't sell.

"When we got down here, we shopped and shopped around," says Ms. Evans, who rented a new 2,200-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse with a pool and a playground for $1,150 per month. The owners allowed the couple to move in with their dog, despite a prohibition against pets.

More from The Wall Street Journal Online:

• Lenders Rethink Home-Equity Loans

• Some Home Fix-Up Tasks Are Worth Skipping

• High Design for Low-Income Housing

To be sure, rents have continued to rise steadily in many markets. And the housing downturn means that more people are looking for rentals as well, increasing demand. Many would-be buyers have become renters because they can't get a mortgage in today's tight credit environment, or because they're sitting tight in hopes that prices drop further.

But in the regions hit hardest by the subprime crisis, finding a rental apartment is easier and, in some cases, cheaper than it was before the crunch. Some homeowners forced out by foreclosure are finding rental deals that are at "discounts of 50% to 70% off what they were paying on their mortgages," says Brenda F. Gerdes, who owns Management Specialists Inc. in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Vacancies have risen in 29 markets in the fourth quarter of 2007, including Las Vegas, Palm Beach, Memphis, Orange County, Calif., and Orlando, according to Reis Inc., a New York real-estate research firm. Ron Witten, a Dallas-based housing analyst, estimates there are 760,000 vacant condos and homes for sale nationwide beyond what the market could normally carry, in addition to a surplus of 350,000 vacant rental properties.

Behind the trend are tens of thousands of unsold condominium units that are being dumped on markets such as South Florida, Las Vegas and Phoenix. While thousands of single-family homes also are coming on the market, renters prefer condos to houses, which typically have more expensive upkeep. "Tenants have to pick up more of the bills," says Artur Ciesielski, a Phoenix real-estate agent.

Pulled From Market

More than 4,200 units have been pulled out of the for-sale condo market and put into the rental pool in Florida's Palm Beach County alone, according to Mary Grace Breeding, president of McCabe Research & Consulting in Deerfield Beach. Those units include the 216-unit Aventine at Boynton Beach and the 450-unit Mizner Court at Broken Sound in Boca Raton, where rents range from $975 to $2,000.

Nor are so-called condo reversions limited to the Sunbelt. In Brooklyn, N.Y., two luxury condo developments converted to rental apartments last spring, including 99 Gold Street, which had begun accepting sales contracts less than a year earlier. Rentals at the 88-unit building range from $2,000 a month for 700-square-foot studios to $5,500 for two-bedroom penthouses.

Even healthy markets are beginning to feel downward pressure on rents. A disappointing employment report earlier this month and other signs of a possible recession don't bode well for landlords, since people who lose their jobs will resist paying higher rents or will move in with friends or family. Many displaced homeowners forced out by foreclosures also are doubling up, says Mark Obrinsky, chief economist at the National Multi-Housing Council.

That means that landlords are seeing what should be one of their strongest markets in years weakened by the increasing supply of unsold properties entering the rental market. "Shadow inventory is coming out and competing against us for rentals," says Richard Campo, chief executive of Camden Property Trust, a Houston-based real-estate company that owns 70,000 apartments. That is weakening landlords' pricing power, he says, because homeowners are less concerned about getting full market value.

Teresa Opara tried to sell her three-bedroom home in northeast Phoenix last year but got tripped up by the credit crunch. She found a buyer willing to pay her $310,000 asking price. But at the last minute, she says, the buyer's bank changed the lending requirement. "They just said they needed more down payment," says the 57-year-old accountant. Instead, she's renting the house for $1,300 a month, which is what she needs to pay her mortgage.

In five struggling markets in Florida, average rents have actually declined since the third quarter. The Tampa-St. Petersburg area saw the largest drop. Average effective rent, which includes free rent and other landlord concessions, was $784 a month at the end of the fourth quarter, down 0.6 percentage point from the previous quarter, according to Reis. In 38 other markets, including Chicago, Boston and St. Louis, rents rose during the fourth quarter, but by less than the national vacancy growth rate of 0.9%. (The rents cited by Reis are a "blended average rent" from complexes with 20 or more units in California and Arizona and 40 or more units in the rest of the country.)

Savvy renters in struggling markets are playing landlords off each other. Ms. Evans, of Stuart, Fla., says the same day she and her husband leased their apartment for $1,150 a month, the owner of a bigger home they had looked at called to lower his asking price from $1,500 to $1,200. "If he had called earlier, we would have taken it," she says.

Trading Up

Christine Provencio, a 23-year-old legal secretary in Phoenix, considered buying a home with her fiance but instead decided to trade a $580-per-month one-bedroom for a $740-a-month two-bedroom in the same four-unit Phoenix home she has lived in for two years.

The news isn't gloomy for landlords everywhere. Rents are rising strongly and vacancies are falling in many markets, particularly those with healthy economies that haven't been affected severely by the carnage in the housing industry. Vacancy rates fell in 47 of the 79 markets tracked by Reis, and average rents saw their largest fourth-quarter increase since 2000.

In San Francisco, rents grew 2.7% in the fourth quarter to $1,761 a month. New York City, which has the highest average rent in the country -- $2,717 a month -- saw a 2% rise.

Vacant units fell by 0.9 percentage point to 5.3% in Tacoma, Wash., the biggest drop in the country. In addition, higher rates and fewer financing options for jumbo mortgages -- those bigger than $417,000 -- have kept vacancy rates high in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, where home buyers typically need jumbo loans.

Slow Correction

Housing experts predict that many would-be home buyers may be forced to rent for years because the relationship between rents and home prices are out of whack. Rents remained at around 5% of home prices throughout much of the postwar period, but beginning in 1996, home-price growth rapidly outpaced rent growth. By the end of 2006, home prices had more than doubled while average rent was up just 48%, driving down the annual rent/price ratio to 3.48%.

A study by one former and two current Federal Reserve economists suggests that home prices will have to fall by 15% over the next five years while rents increase by 4% a year to return that rent/price ratio to normal.

Write to Nick Timiraos at"

Anonymous said...

“Another good reason not to throw good money after bad by forcing existing homeowners to subsidize the development of new homes:”

The developer driven DCRSD and St. Leon were designed with their main goal as acting as a stop gap, to protect the profits of a handful of politically connected developers in this county. With powerful development interests either on the board or in a position to exert extreme influence on their boards, the development interests could simply pick a spot on the county map, buy property their at rural, undeveloped prices, then later have the sewer districts “decide” that area is ripe for sewers. The politically connected developers then receive a twofer at our expense or loss. These politically connected developers get to reap all the profits of the enhanced value of their land when rezoned to residential and/or commercial and they able to, via their “connections” on the sewer district boards, force the rest of us to subsidize running sewers out to their remote properties.

Anonymous said...

Hey, development bastard come up to the year and do some deer hunting but leave your orange hat at home,I made you a special antler hat.

Anonymous said...

Hey, development bastard come up to the year and do some deer hunting but leave your orange hat at home,I made you a special antler hat.

Past conduct be indicative of future behavior, I would expect our scheming developers to hunt up in the N.W. Quadrant by proxy, via a few slimy realtors, with orders to hunt out of season!

Rules and fair pursuit are for the little people!

Anonymous said...

I see nothing but a bunch of losers that really have nothing to do but this blog.

No greaseball, what you see is a forum that you cannot bully or intimidate. And since these two tactics make up you entire arsenal of political “finesse,” you are completely bemused and baffled to the point of helpless and crazed rage. Go kick your dog. That should bring back some fond memories of your past political power. Just don’t come near our dogs. We will break your legs. Nothing is more pitiful and pathetic as a bully blustering and stumbling around, with no one left to bully.

Anonymous said...

Does a Development owned and operated Republican Leadership make a sound while yapping off orders...

...if there is no one left willing to listen to their bluster?

Anonymous said...

Being addictive to this blog is better than being addicted to taxpayer money ,you are impossible and a criminal.

Anonymous said...

Next thing they will tell us all is that we are "addicted" to removing development crooks and shills from every office in this county.

And in that case, they would be on target.

We need to keep hammering these thugs until they are "temper-tantruming" across this entire county.

May the Ensweiler “temper-tantrum” before the county council, because the council wanted them to get back to why they were formed, fixing High Ridge, be a portent of more good things to come.

Soon every decent republican in this county will have Ewbank and Morris on their “call-block” and “return to sender” lists.