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Council to vote on rental license ordinance

August 27, 2018

HUNTINGTON — Huntington City Council will hear the second reading of a bill Monday night that would create a residential rental registry with general inspection procedures and minimum maintenance standards necessary to ensure that all residential rentals are safe, sanitary, free from fire and health hazards, fit for human habitation and promote public welfare.

The ordinance also authorizes the inspection of all residential rental units and established enforcement procedures and penalties for violations.

During the previous regular meeting Aug. 13, council approved an amendment that states that the landlords who receive a residential rental unit license must have the address of their rental property and the council district it resides in posted on the city’s website. Council member Carol Polan, who proposed the amendment, said this will allow students from Marshall to ensure they have an official rental, along with allowing citizens curious about properties to check and see if they are registered.

If approved, the ordinance will take effect 90 days after passage and will require all landlords to apply for a residential rental unit license from the city’s Finance Division. As part of the rental license ordinance, landlords will also be required to permit access to all city inspectors. Each residential unit shall be subject to a periodic inspection that shall take place no more than once every 12 months for each unit.

There are currently 10 other cities in West Virginia, including Charleston, that have enacted a similar ordinance.

Council also will hear the second reading of four other ordinances. One will approve an option agreement and the transfer of some real estate in the 2800 block of 8th Avenue to American Electric Power West Virginia for power line replacement. The second will allow the mayor to enter an intergovernmental agreement between the city and Cabell County relating to the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program award. The third will allow the mayor to enter into a contract for a marina feasibility study consultant.

All of the above listed ordinances do not require a third reading, thus the public is allowed to comment.

Council will also hear the second reading of an ordinance that will allow the Huntington Sanitary Board to issue sewer revenue bond anticipation notes

not to exceed $10 million for capital improvement projects. That ordinance requires a third reading.

The bonds would be paid for using the funds from the threephase sewer rates approved by the Huntington City Council in December 2016. The first two rate increases took effect in February 2017 and December 2017. The final increase is set to take effect Dec. 31.

Officials with the Sanitary Board said the increases were necessary to fund nine capital improvement projects totaling $7.5 million, as well as to offset increases in health insurance and sludge removal costs.

The future of those rate increases are uncertain, however, due to ongoing litigation set on reversing the measure. The case currently resides with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, with no word on when a decision will be made.

Cou nci l member Tom McComas said during a July finance committee meeting he could not support the bond issuance until the PSC case was resolved. The ordinance was forwarded to the full council with no recommendation from the finance committee.

Council also has two first readings of ordinances and four resolutions on the agenda for Monday night.

The first ordinance will allow the mayor to enter an agreement with the Cabell County Board of Education on behalf of the Huntington Police Department.

The second will authorize the rezoning of the northern side of the 200, 300 and 400 block of 5th Avenue and six properties on the northwestern side of the 500 block of 5th Avenue from a R-5 residence district to a C-1 neighborhood commercial district.

The first resolution will authorize the mayor to enter into a contract to furnish labor and materials for demolition and site clearance for various structures in the city. The remaining resolutions appoint Dr. Nicholas Freiden, Christina Bailey and Cara Bailey to the Historical Preservation Commission.

The Huntington City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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