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Rental agreement sparks outrage
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HOISINGTON — The Hoisington City Council passed an ordinance in June requiring rental homes in the community be maintained and inspected yearly. However, the agreement sparked outrage among property owners.
At its regular meeting on Monday, the council revisited the topic. The room was filled to overflowing with property owners.
Discussion opened with one owner presenting the council with a petition to have the ordinance repealed. The petition said, “We the undersigned either citizens of the city of Hoisington, Barton County, Kansas and/or owners of rental dewellings (sic) within said city of Hoisington, Kansas hereby declare our opposition to the ordinance herein above described and upon the filing of this petition with the city clerk that this matter be place on the agenda. . . for purposes of repealing said ordinance No. 1497 or for other remedies that may  be appropriate under the circumstances.”
It was signed by 148 people.
“I guess all we can say we hope you guys will look at this and reconsider your adoption of the ordinance on the landlords on the rental property,” said one landlord.  “All we ask is that you reconsider.”
“We’re trying to get this town cleaned up,” said Mike Aylward, council member. “Would you as a landlord have a committee to meet and recommend to us all the remedies for this ordinance?”
The landlord agreed that they could put together a committee and bring recommendations to the council.
“From the landlord’s point of view,  there is no reason for this ordinance if you enforce what you have,” said another. “Everything you need to do you already have, so there is no reason for this ordinance.”
Other landlords spoke and asked why landlords we’re being singled out.
Council Member Karen Van Brimmer asked if the landlords would follow the ordinance. They said no.
Dick Ogle, who owns four properties, said the problem isn’t ordinances, but enforcement. “I don’t see passing new ordinances getting job done as far as enforcement. We bought property and have improved it. I contacted 26 people, both renters and landowners, and no one was in favor of it,” he said.
Since the beginning of 2014, the council has held a minimum of 18 separate discussions on specific dilapidated properties, discussions on parking in the front yard, problems with trash carts being left in the front yard, and the rental property agreement. Most of these meetings have been covered in the Great Bend Tribune.
City Code Enforcement Officer Don Doerschlag works half-time at code enforcement and half-time at animal control.
Council Member Brian Wilborn brought up the issue that valuation of the city declined and thought it was in part due to dilapidated property. “We’ve got to address this problem,” he said. “We’ve got to find a way to grow the valuation.”
He went on to say that without increasing valuation, the city might have to raise the mill levy tax assessment.
Wilborn said, “We’re all in this together.”
The comments portion of the meeting was closed. City Manager Jonathan Mitchell said that the city had held a meeting earlier this month for discussion about the ordinance and 75-100 people were in attendance. He said 19 people who spoke were opposed and two were in favor.
Council Member Nancy Farmer made a motion to have an ordinance drafted to repeal the landowner/rental property agreement. It passed unanimously.