DUBOIS – A large number of people turned out for Monday’s DuBois City Council meeting for the discussion on the landlord ordinance, Council Bill 1908.
However, council postponed discussion until its next meeting due to the excused absences of Council members Jim Aughenbaugh and Diane Bernardo. Council Bill 1908 has been in the works since October.
As part of its development, a Rental Ordinance Committee was formed to collect input from area landlords. It’s made up of five area landlords and city representatives.
Council has given several reasons for the ordinance over recent months. Some are:
- to increase accountability for landlords. Complaints were received from renters and their neighbors about the conditions some renters were living in.
- due to concerns raised after the discovery of several meth labs within DuBois City.
- to increase information on the current conditions of rental properties for emergency services, such as the DuBois Volunteer Fire Department.
- for purposes of verification if the property is fully-insured
According to the minutes from a recent work session meeting, the Rental Ordinance Committee sent a letter to council. It rejected the ordinance to the surprise of Bernardo.
Code Enforcement/Zoning Officer Zac Lawhead, who is on the committee, explained the discussion that occurred at the Jan. 19 committee meeting.
Lawhead said that the committee’s position was that 90 percent of DuBois City’s landlords are generally good. He said it believed the ordinance is mostly aimed at the 10 percent who aren’t.
Also, he said that the committee questioned the effectiveness of the ordinance to fight a group with new laws when it doesn’t comply with those already in existence.
Bernardo expressed disappointment in the committee’s decision. She characterized opposition to the ordinance as opposition to improving community safety and the fear of change.
Councilman Edward Walsh stated both sides made good points throughout the discussion.
City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio reminded council members that each nominated a member to the Rental Ordinance Committee. He urged the council to contact them with questions. Aughenbaugh was excused from the work session.
Discussion on the landlord ordinance will resume at the Feb. 8 council meeting.