A number of Denison residents have raised concerns in regard to the city's newly proposed rental registration program. After a general consensus of nay from renters and rental property owners during the public forum held Thursday, Denison staff is still soliciting additional feedback from the public regarding a proposed rental registration program that the city is pushing.
The next time Denison officials will meet will be at the city's annual budget workshop to be held at 8 a.m. Friday in the Magnolia room at the Hilton-Garden Inn in Denison. They confirmed Tuesday that the rental inspection program will not be on the agenda though it could come up in future budget talks.
The proposal includes a plan to hire a code enforcement officer who will inspect every rental property in the city limits. The program will also require all rental properties to be registered with the city.
During the feedback phase of the forum, city staff wrote ideas the citizens presented on a sheet of poster board that contained the list of items the city would examine later.
Among the proposals was the option of reversing the fee schedule so that rentals with a higher number of properties, or multi-family dwellings, would pay the higher fee and the lower income, single-family properties would pay the lower fee instead of the proposed fee schedule where apartments with more units would pay a smaller fee.
Throughout the meeting Community and Engagement Director Sunny Mackey put comments and suggestions down on the marker boards, and there were a number of questions the city staff just didn't have answers for.
Chief issues that were discussed ranged from the cost of the program and the city's ability to manage it with a single code enforcement officer to fourth amendment issues related to illegal searches and seizures. City Manager Jud Rex replied that the city had a code enforcement warrant option to be compliant with the law, and the city's attorney had advised the staff the program would not violate existing laws.
“We had a great turnout, this is exactly why we held this meeting to get feedback from the community,” Rex said. “We learned a lot about being a landlord that is something the city is going to need to understand if we are going to get into the rental inspection business. Their feedback is vital to help shape the program.”
Rex said the city is considering talking with a committee of landlords to get further feedback. During the meeting he used the analogy of a DVR saying the city is putting everything into slow motion right now.
Rex also said there have been a number of residents who have expressed their opinions on social media and the city is aware of those.
Richard A. Todd is the Denison area reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org