Landlords worried over rental inspections

Staff writer

Some Marion landlords were none too happy after finding out city council is looking to develop a rental property inspection program, council member John Wheeler said at Monday’s meeting.

Wheeler said he’d heard from landlords that they considered the city’s plans a negative idea, but he said he wants people to know that numerous state and federal programs can be leveraged thanks to a recent housing assessment coordinated by the city’s economic development director.

The programs can offer benefits to developers, government entities, and individuals, and can help the community develop quality, affordable, and accessible housing, Wheeler said.

“Basically, I want to get the word out there that it’s still up for discussion,” Wheeler said.

Also still up for discussion is an amendment of a city fireworks ordinance. Two weeks ago council members heard from a resident who complained about the noise level of fireworks shot in his neighborhood on July 4.

City administrator Roger Holter told council members that his research showed that fireworks have increased in power in recent years. Consumer class fireworks are larger and noisier.

“Everything that was discharged in our city met the federal regulations,” Holter said.

City attorney Susan Robson said the council might want to consider shortening the hours and days that fireworks can be shot.

Fire chief Mike Regnier said this year no calls reported fires caused by fireworks. He speculated this summer’s wet weather had an impact on that.

“Most years it’s dry and we’ll have to make four or five calls,” Regnier said.

Police chief Tyler Mermis said the department had only a few calls related to fireworks. One involved a person struck by a firework who had to be taken to the emergency room because a shell reopened a surgical incision. On July 3, there was a fireworks call at the aquatic center. On July 4, four warnings were issued for shooting fireworks in the street and shooting them after hours.

“Each year we have some sort of complaint about fireworks. It’s gotten less, though,” Mermis said.

After discussion Monday, council declined to make any decision except to put the matter back on the agenda for a later meeting.

In other matters, the council unanimously approved the 2017 budget, and approved the issuance of industrial revenue bonds for the Historic Elgin Hotel on a 4-0 vote with council member Chris Costello abstaining.

Last modified Aug. 3, 2016

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