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Ford City approves new ordinance for landlord-tenant rental property

| Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009

FORD CITY -- Council Monday approved a new landlord tenant ordinance that provides rules for rental properties. It also sets the fees charged landlords.

Landlords in the borough had asked council to lower the fees initially proposed for the ordinance and council did so in accordance with their recommendations.

"I believe we've addressed and resolved everything that's been discussed," borough solicitor Frank Wolfe said of the final draft of the ordinance.

The ordinance is effective January 1.

The fees in the ordinance will be one annual $50 fee to be a landlord regardless of the number of properties and $15 for each additional rental property. Reinspection fees are $25. The fee for appeals from codes officer decisions is $500.

Council also approved an amendment to the borough's business privilege tax ordinance to remove landlords from it, effective Jan. 1, to coincide with the new landlord tenant ordinance.

The vote was 4-1 on the amendment to the business privilege tax with council members John Lux, Tom Shaffer, Ray Klukan and Ron Dillard voting yes, Terry Tokarek voting no with Tim Malec being absent due to work.

Tokarek said he voted no because the landlords are still subject to paying the higher fees for this year.

President Judge Kenneth Valasek dismissed a complaint against the borough recently brought by Ford City landlords who were upset with being taxed $150 per rental property. The matter remains unresolved as it was left open for the landlords to file an amended complaint. The new fees don't take effect until January and landlords are still responsible for the 2009 tax.

Some landlords have paid the tax while others have not, according to borough officials.

In other borough business, council:

• Tabled action regarding repeal of the borough's per capita tax, for further discussion.

• Tabled action on a new towing ordinance.

• Announced a savings for the borough in the borough employee's health care insurance coverage.

• Held an executive session to discuss the borough workers' collective bargaining agreement. Workers represented by the United Steelworkers of America have been without a labor contract since Jan. 31 of this year. Council took no action upon returning to the public meeting other than to say they had agreed to contact the mediator.

• Moved November's regular public meeting from Nov. 2 to Nov. 9.

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