Landlords still concerned about Kulpmont rental fee
KULPMONT - For the second time, several landlords attended the monthly Kulpmont Borough Council meeting, hoping to change the governing body's mind about a $120 fee for each property rented within the borough's limits.
Last month, the borough pushed back the enforcement of its landlord registration fee to March and escrowed all fees already collected after landlords complained the fee is too exorbitant compared to other municipalities.
On Tuesday, the landlords didn't speak while they waited for an answer. The only person who spoke was Steve Matzura, who has been working with the borough on a proper rental ordinance since the last one was passed in May.
Matzura started his brief remarks saying this would be the last time he would address council about the registration fee.
"I ask council to make a motion publicly to lower the landlord registration fee to an appropriate level that fits a fee and not a tax," Matzura said.
Council president Bruno Varano thanked Matzura for his remarks and continued with the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, council went into a 30-minute executive session for personnel matters and possible litigation. Many of the landlords in attendance waited in the hall to see if the fee would be addressed after the executive session.
While members of the public returned to the meeting room after the executive session, council made and seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting; however, members of the public were unable to hear council's motion. Once seated, they heard all members say aye, and the meeting was adjourned.
"Why did we wait in the hall?" a landlord asked council when he got up to leave. "What about the motion?"
"No one said we were going to discuss the matter tonight," Varano said.
Council members said in December money collected from the fee is needed to help offset the salary of code enforcement officer Russ Moroz, but landlords argued it takes less than 30 minutes for borough officials to register a landlord.
Moroz said 32 registrations have been received as of Tuesday.
While waiting for the end of the executive session, Matzura said he has been unable to meet with borough officials ever since the show of solidarity the landlords made in December.
"They're not returning my calls," he said.
A workshop between council and landlords is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 22.
In other business
Moroz said the old mill in the 1400 block of Chestnut Street is becoming a dangerous structure and has experienced water main breaks and other problems. He is asking the public to avoid the alley behind the mill for safety reasons. He said he will be meeting with the solicitor to discuss ways to handle the problem.
Moroz said he had been informed that someone put a note with his name on it on a truck filled with garbage, and the truck's owner thought the note was left by the code officer. Moroz said he does not leave notes on vehicles.
"I want to let everyone know that if I make any contact with you, it will be done by either phone call, official letter or face-to-face," he said.
The code officer also said a home in the 600 block of Scott Street will be torn down later this week and that construction equipment will be in the area.
Service and facilities committee chairman Nicholas Bozza made several announcements to the public, including a warning to residents to stop shoveling snow into the streets.
"During the last two snow storms, we have noticed that a number of residents are throwing snow back into the street after crews have cleared them," Bozza said. "If anyone is caught doing this, they will be fined."
Bozza also announced the last day for Christmas tree collection is Friday and reminded Chestnut Street residents to place their trees in the alley behind their homes instead of along the highway.
The borough's food surplus will be distributed from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, Jan. 30, for those already signed up.