Northampton Press

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Council could see revised ordinance at July 5 meeting

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

Original rental property legislation was vetoed by mayor last month

A revised draft of the controversial rental property ordinance is likely to be in front of Northampton Borough Council members at its July 5 meeting.

The original proposal was approved May 17 by a 4-3 vote of council.

Northampton Borough Mayor Thomas Reenock vetoed the measure June 7.

The rental property ordinance, expected to cover 1,365 known apartment units in the borough, would have required landlords to pay a registration fee for each unit, to allow a borough code officer to schedule inspections of the property, to pay inspection fees and to correct unsafe conditions.

When discussing his reasons for the veto, Reenock contended the borough already has adequate provisions to deal with apartment issues, such as a property maintenance, electrical, plumbing and building codes, along with police and other avenues to address any problems.

Although the revised draft of the legislation might appear at council’s July 5 meeting, borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said the proposal must be advertised and a 10-day window needed before a vote is taken.

According to Councilwoman Judy Kutzler, a proponent of the ordinance, a vote on the new rental property ordinance could happen as early as September. Council holds only one meeting in both July and August, after which it returns to two meetings monthly.

In addition to Kutzler, Councilmen Robert McHale, Anthony Lopsonzski Sr. and Kenneth Hall voted in favor of the original proposal.

McHale had offered to confer with the mayor over his concerns that led to the veto.

Council members Ed Pany, Anthony Pristash and Keith Piescienski voted against the original proposal.

Council President Anthony Lopsonzski Jr. was absent from the meeting. He has not made any public comment thus far regarding the matter.