After lengthy public hearing, Fairmont City Council votes for public work session on rental housing ordinance

Fairmont City Council votes for public work session on rental housing ordinance

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Citizens concerned over Fairmont’s City Council’s actions have packed city hall for the last few months.

Following the firing of the city attorney and the concern the city administrator would be next - residents turned out to express their feelings over the council's actions.

And now - an ordinance amending the rental housing standards - had the chambers full once again.

"I didn't know if I should come here tonight because watching the last council meeting, was the vote already made up before we got here was it already three against two?"

"There was no intent to vote on this tonight and I never wanted this to be voted on tonight, I wanted this to be an open discussion."

"Even if the applicant was, had a criminal history if he served his time would you prevent me from renting to him?"

"I've been in this business for 35 years, I don't have a lot of rentals left anymore but I've never, ever had to worry about a criminal check."

"As much is I agree that it would be nice to not have this, it's for the small number of people in every city that have slum houses or don't take care of their tenants or threaten their tenets and it happens all the time."

"If you read through this it refers to state law that backs up city code to take care of any issue that would arise. I can't fathom an issue that's not covered by this and so I'm not sure why we're reinventing the wheel other than we're here, people that were involved in the past, to educate you folks on the hard work we did in 2013, 2014."

"I just think it should be the responsibility of the city to have the member do the code and ordinance inspection and enforcement, it just seems like that's the missing link to this whole entire thing."

"Enforcement is difficult if we're not working together as a community and people that own properties because there's a lot of properties out there that have junk violations that aren't rentals so we do have to look at this from a much broader standpoint."

And that was what was decided, the deliberation is postponed until they could include everyone in the discussion; police, city staff, tenants and landlords.

Once the date of that work session is determined, the public will be made notice.

Also at Monday’s meeting councilor Tom Hawkins addressed some of the public’s comments related to the last few months - making reference to the recent firing of the city attorney.

Hawkins read a statement, saying his personal agenda is to have a city that is willing to make hard decisions for the best of the long term health of that city.

Some addressed concern for the city administrator and his job. There was a private meeting held by city council about his performance review-we were not told anything other than the conclusion was, they reached a consensus that nothing will be done.

Full video from the meeting can be found here.

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