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Mt. Pleasant again addresses landlord ordinance

| Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 8:18 p.m.

Mt. Pleasant Borough's rental inspection ordinance came up again Monday night as several landlords addressed council, complaining of the cost and methods used to enforce the regulations.

Mayor Gerald Lucia and several council members addressed the issue after the public comment period.

Resident Gerard Rendine, reading from a prepared statement, said voters should replace council members with elected officials who “are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

“I remember a property owner addressing this body about a parking problem on his street, and no one would at least offer to look into it or discuss it further,” Rendine said.

Another landlord complained that the inspection requirements had changed.

Lucia and council President Joseph Bauer Jr. replied to the charges.

Bauer said residents would be receiving a pamphlet in the mail refuting the charges and explaining the reasons for the ordinance.

“One thing they said is that we're going to inspect property owners, and that's not the truth,” said Bauer, adding another untrue rumor was that the inspector would be going through dresser drawers. “We're only inspecting rental properties.”

According to Bauer, the candidates running against council members are those supported by the rental property owners for the purpose of repealing the ordinance.

“I would implore everybody in this town to vote for the people sitting on this council, because they're the ones who actually care,”said Bauer, adding council members have no vested interest like those running who are supported by the rental owners.

Lucia said the ordinance had been tested in the courts. He added other municipalities are looking to use similar ordinances in their communities.

Lucia said no citations have been issued since the ordinance went into effect, but he added it would help borough officials take action against absentee landlords whose properties would reduce the values of neighboring properties.

After the meeting, Rendine said the landlords were upset because the elected officials were ignoring them, refusing to hear their complaints.

In other action, council:

• Received two bids for the borough's 1996 Jeep Cherokee: Sulli Motors of Ambridge bid $429, and Norm Stout of Ruffsdale bid $557.50. Council approved the sale to Stout.

• Heard reports on work being done to the borough's parks.

• Heard a report about the formation of a summer basketball league.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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