The City of Hastings will keep its rental unit inspection program conducted by Professional Code Inspections. The inspections are in local code, not state law, City Manager Jeff Mansfield said, and are not required. The question came up with a change in state law that said unless specified in the renter/landlord lease agreement that they allow it; the renter can deny inspectors entry into the residence. However after discussion with Tom Thompson, from PCI, the council reaffirmed its commitment to keep the inspections.
Thompson said they are not seeing a lot of violations in the 892 units they inspect every two years. Landlords are taking better care of property than they did in the past and tenants are too, he said. Thompson commended the city staff for, “helping us get to where we are now.” He noted some of the larger rental units have staff to do inspections and some are inspected by the state every year. Since no one has any idea how many renters have the new clause in their present lease agreements, Mansfield and Thompson will meet to discuss how to accommodate the law change and also consider inspections going from two to four years for those with a clean inspection record.
“Are the inspections beneficial for the city?” Councilman Bill Redman asked.
“I think so,” Thompson said. “It keeps everybody honest. It deters them from letting the property go down.”
In other business Monday:
*the Central Elementary PTO Walk-a-thon STOMP on Sept 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. was approved and will follow the format of last year’s event.
*sidewalk sales on July 13-14, a request of the Hastings Downtown Business Team, was approved.
*a request from Shannon Rybiski to block West Marshall Street on July 3 from 6 p.m. to noon on July 4 to host a block party was approved. Mansfield said they haven’t had such a request for several years, but had allowed them in the past without problems. Police Chief Jeff Pratt also said he didn’t recall any problems with such closures.
*two budget amendments explained by treasurer/financial director Jerry Czarnecki were approved. The changes reflect several last minute “end of fiscal year” expenses for close-out costs at the MDOT Butler Creek project, wastewater treatment plant purchases, legal fees for the police department and the purchase of the sludge dewatering device at the WWTP.
*a two-year contract with the YMCA at $30,000 per year was renewed. The YMCA provides recreation programs for everyone, Mansfield said, but Hastings residents get them at a reduced cost.
*citizens Kay McNeill, Vickie Butler, Denna Smith and Terry Stenzelbarton were approved as the four member Ad Hoc Dog Park Advisory Committee to give input to city staff developing a final draft ordinance with rules and regulations for the operation of the Hastings Dog Park.