Council gets testy -- wants quick action on ordinance to clean up properties
When Batavia City Manager Jason Molino suggested Monday night that an ordinance proposed by the Neighborhood Improvement Committee to force landlords to better maintain their properties couldn't be quickly implemented, he found stiff opposition from council members who are tired of repeated constituent complaints about poorly maintained properties.
"We can't have any more bull," said Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian. "We can't push this aside any longer."
Some council members wanted Molino and his staff to act on the proposal within 30 to 90 days, even though the NIC's request gives the council until the end of the year to implement a new ordinance.
"This is not a turnkey piece of legislation," Molino said. "There is a lot of staff impact."
The proposed legislation would require city staff to inspect every rental property every 36 months, and every owner-occupied home each time it is sold. Once inspection requirements were met, a Certificate of Occupancy would be issued.
Items that could be inspected would include smoke alarms, CO2 detectors, plumbing fixtures, heating, appliances, wiring, safe exits and that the exterior is safe and sanitary.
Additionally, landlords would be required to register tenants with the city and ensure an agent of the property resided in Genesee County.
Molino maintained that it would take a good deal of research and study to determine the impacts on city resources, and whether additional resources would be needed.
Every council member spoke to the need for quick action to deal with a long festering issue in the city, but Councilman Frank Ferrando pointed out that NIC requested a deadline for action that might allow Molino enough time for research and ensure a new ordinance could be brought forward in a reasonable amount of time.
NIC requested that the council vote on a new ordinance by the end of the year.
"Let's follow the recommendation of the committee and give Jason and his staff the time necessary to do it right," Ferrando said.
After a bit more debate, the council agreed to instruct City Attorney George Van Nest and Molino time to figure out the impacts, write the proposed law -- which could include implementing the proposal in stages, such as tenant registration first, and annual inspections later -- and bring back a recommendation to the Council before current terms that expire this year end.
Pictured: Bob Bialkowski, who initially raised the idea of the proposed ordinance with NIC.