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|Change In Rental Fees Discussed By City Council
|The Galesburg City Council met last night and spent considerable time on changing the structure of rental fees.
As the ordinance is currently being proposed, a flat fee would be charged to rental property owners to perform inspections and handle complaints.
After asking several questions of the verbiage, the aldermen discussed a possible changing of the structure to a use fee.
This means that the more times the fire department inspector is called to a property, the more times the owner is charged.
Fire Chief Tom Simkins says that once every five years isn't happening.
"That program was started 12, maybe 13 years ago, we started doing inspections on a response from council from some of the delinquent landlords in town," says Simkins. "What it has become is more of a complaint basis, I'm sure there are some inspections we just haven't got [sic] to."
The debate stemmed from concerns each alderman had heard from their tenants about the state of rental properties available in Galesburg.
Fifth Ward Alderman Peter Schwartzman says that uninhabitable apartments are a problem.
"I think we have to ask ourselves: do we want to protect the citizens who rent? I think we all do," says Schwartzman. "One of the ways we do that is through inspection."
The inspector completes about 500 inspections a year, but many of those are re-inspections due to complaints.
Seventh Ward Alderman Jeremy Karlin says that he hears from a number of Knox College students who have problems with rental housing.
"Perhaps we need to be looking at our landlord tenant ordinances to see if it addresses all of these concerns," says Karlin.
The City Council tabled the ordinance on its first reading to gather more information on the proposal and perhaps amend the language.
|04 01 13 by Newsroom
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