Hagerstown City Council nixes sunset provision on rentals

October 25, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday voted to remove the sunset provision on the city's rental licensing program.

The decision will allow code enforcement officials to continue making routine inspections of residential rental properties in the city, said John Lestitian, the city's director of code administration.

Before the council voted, members of the Landlord Property Owners Association of Washington County tried unsuccessfully to convince the council that the sunset provision should expire in accordance with an agreement the two bodies made in 2003.

That agreement stated the sunset provision would expire automatically June 21, 2008.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer was the only member of council who sided with the landlords, saying the council should maintain its integrity.


"I think the city should honor its agreement," she said.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said it was the understanding all along that a city administration, other than the one that was in office when the agreement was struck, would make the final decision.

He said he resented Cromer's accusation that the council would lose its integrity by voting to remove the sunset provision.

After the meeting, Metzner said he believed the council needed to remove the sunset provision Tuesday so code enforcement employees would know ahead of time that their jobs were secure.

Lestitian said the council's decision will ensure that rental properties are safe and adequately maintained.

"I think the program saves lives," he said.

How they voted

The city council voted Tuesday on a motion to remove the sunset provision on the city's rental licensing program.

Martin E. Brubaker - yes

Lewis C. Metzner - yes

Penny M. Nigh - yes

Alesia Parson-McBean - yes

Kelly S. Cromer - no

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