Kulpmont landlord citations voided by council
KULPMONT - Borough council has granted a reprieve to the few landlords who haven't paid their registration fee in 2014.
In a vote taken following an executive session at Tuesday's meeting, council voted 4-1 to void any citations for those who didn't paid the $50 per rental unit by the March 1 effective date.
The motion to to void previously issued citations was made by Joseph Winhofer and seconded by Nicholas Bozza. Winhofer, Bozza, Stephanie Niglio and council president Bruno Varano voted for the measure while Clarence Deitrick was opposed.
"After talking it over, we just felt it was very screwed up with all the votes taken in January and February to make the fee more reasonable that it is possible that some people got confused," Winhofer said Thursday. "We just decided to give everyone the benefit of the doubt."
Council voted last May to raise the landlord registration fee to $120 per unit, effective Jan. 1. After several landlords protested, saying the amount was exorbitant, council voted to postpone the effective date to March 1 while they re-evaluated the fee. On Feb. 26, council voted to change the fee to $50 per unit, but kept the March 1 effective date.
Fees paid before the new system was approved were kept in escrow.
Approximately five landlords who hadn't yet paid the fee received a citation with a $200 fine attached to it on April 3, but some claimed they hadn't received the warning letter before getting the fine. After being informed about the situation by one of the landlords at Tuesday's meeting, council discussed the issue in executive session and took the vote when they went back into the meeting.
Code enforcement officer Russ Moroz was instructed to send a new letter giving the landlords 10 days from receipt to pay the fee, but he said Thursday the matter had been rectified.
"I called the landlords personally Wednesday and all but one made arrangements to pay the fee when we spoke, so I'm considering the matter taken care of," Moroz said.