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City to hire apartment inspector

Updated: February 12, 2013 12:08PM



CROWN POINT — The City Council on Feb. 4 approved an amendment to the city’s salary ordinance to include the newly created post of rental compliance inspector to be appointed by the mayor, and paid a yearly salary of $47,665.28.

Half of the salary will come from the fund created by the rental housing ordinance passed last year. The remaining balance will be divided equally between the Waste Water Utility Fund and the Water Utility Fund. This position will be under the control of the Board of Public Works and Safety.

The way that the payment was to be apportioned had to be worked through the council. Not everyone understood or agreed to taking the funding out of the utilities. That is something that will be up for review again next year.

The real stumbling block regarded the required qualifications of any candidate for that position. Every council members objected to the first requirement: Law enforcement experience, preferably being a graduate of a law enforcement academy.

Councilwoman Carol Drasga, R-5th, said instead of a law enforcement background, the inspector should be certified in construction.

“You clearly need someone that has just not helped build a new house. We need someone to come into these places and know the codes,” Drasga said, adding, “I would prefer it would state nothing about law enforcement and go with construction management.”

All seven council members agreed.

Mayor Dave Uran said, “In the interest of moving forward, I hear the council loud and clear.”

Councilman Bill Feder, D-at large, said, “We want to make this revenue neutral. We are not trying to make money on rental properties.”

Councilman Mark Schweitzer, R-At Large, said that he wants everyone to know that the city is serious about this.

Uran pointed out that they will share these changes with the city’s representatives in state government to show that the fee iss not to increase income.

“We made a commitment to renters that they will have a safe place to live,” said Uran. “We know this is important for safety.”

Right now, at least, the position is only open to existing city employees.

Also accomplished at this meeting was correcting numbering problems in the original registration and inspection program for rental housing units. At the same time the title of the person doing the inspections was also changed to rental compliance inspector.



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