Public Hearing on Housing Ordinances Coming Up Wednesday

There’s a special meeting of the DeKalb city council on Wednesday, September 19, concerning the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force vs. city staff recommendations. Last time, staff made its case while everybody else listened. This time there’s a public hearing. The items under consideration are as follows:

a. Crime-free Lease Addendum Requirement
b. Chronic Nuisance Ordinance Enforcement
c. Licensing/Registration
d. Rental Property Inspection

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Continue reading Public Hearing on Housing Ordinances Coming Up Wednesday

Rental Association Positions on Proposed Housing Ordinances

DeKalb’s city council will hold a special workshop meeting August 22, 6 p.m. in council chambers, to discuss proposals related to the work of the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force. The agenda and backup materials (a 109-page PDF) are here.

If you’ve been following the work of the task force, especially lately, you know that its advice differs in several ways from recommendations advocated by city staff.

Now, the DeKalb Area Rental Association (DARA) is weighing in on those same recommendations with a position paper its board released today.

I’m posting the paper in its entirety, with very minor editing, after the jump. Continue reading Rental Association Positions on Proposed Housing Ordinances

No Task Force, No Public Input Allowed at Council’s Special Meetings on Housing Issues

[Updated with link 5:30 p.m.]

The DeKalb City Council is planning three special meetings on housing issues, scheduled as follows:

  • Wednesday, Aug 22 at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept 19 at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct 10 at 6 p.m.
  • The meetings will not include Safe/Quality Housing Task Force members except as members of the audience who are invited only to “attend and observe,” according to a city e-mail that is making the rounds.

    Count me among the Task Force members, landlords and others who are concerned the lack of public input will leave the administrators’ agenda inadequately challenged. For example, the city has included a $150,000 rental property licensing and inspection contingency in the FY2013 budget that was rejected as a Task Force recommendation yet continues to be pushed by city staff.

    DeKalb County Online: Rental Inspection Manager Hired Last Year

    Surprise! The City of DeKalb has been paying the “proposed” Rental Inspection Program Manager for the better part of a year now:

    According to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, filed by DeKalb County Online, the City hired an independent contractor, retired DeKalb Police Lt. James Kayes, to perform the duties of a Rental Inspections Manager in October, 2007. The contract, which runs through September, 2008, states that Kayes is paid $40 per hour for each hour of work he turns in on a bi-weekly basis.

    The contract does not specify a limit to billable hours and includes reimbursement for expenses incurred by Kayes, plus use of a City vehicle and equipment. Kayes reports to the Community Development Director, Russ Farnum.

    City attorney, Norma Guess, explained in a response letter regarding the FOIA request that the contract was approved by City Manager, Mark Biernacki. Her letter stated that the position and the contract was discussed by City Council during closed sessions and therefore the minutes regarding those discussions are not available to the public.

    Mr. Biernacki is allowed to approve expenses of up to $20,000 per year without Council approval and Mr. Kayes has been paid up to about $6000 per month. Watch the monthly check registers and you do the math. [Update for clarification: If there is not a cap of $20,000 per year in the contract–and there’s not–only the negotiations should have been private. The contract itself should have been approved in open session, a la Daley Group.]