LIMA — City Council’s Economic and Community Development Committee held a meeting Monday night with prospective landlords to discuss the issue of junk autos in the city.
The meeting, held at the Council Chambers, was chaired by 5th Ward member Teresa Adams, who was joined by 4th Ward’s Tom Tebben, 2nd Ward’s Sam McLean and 6th Ward’s Derry Glenn.
City Council mailed requests to some of the top property owners in Lima to bring to their awareness how they are responsible for making sure tenants at their property are not violating the city’s ordinances and the penalties they face if violated. Adams was adamant in voicing her displeasure with the way the current situation is being handled and is concerned for the city’s well-being as a whole.
“When dealing with these junk autos, there are a few concerns that involve all parties that come to mind,” Adams said. “I have concerns about safety issues, vandalism of property, drawing wild animals and property value of both the tenant in violation and the adjacent neighbor forced to live beside those who violate requirements for exterior property areas.”
Hearings on this issue began routinely four months ago. Tebben, who has been outspoken on this issue, does not want to this debate to be turned into a struggle against landlords.
“The goal here is not to put any additional burdens on to the landlords,” Tebben said. “The goal is to improve the quality of life and property in our city and to provide the aesthetics our neighborhoods truly deserve.”
The city of Lima charges landlords $50 for every cviolation and the fines and fees continue to escalate if the situation is not taken care of. Debates have ranged on the types of actions that can be reached in these situations, whether landlords have the right to issue a tenant a reprimand ordering them to pay the fine and remove the junk vehicle and if there should be a warning given to landlords before fines are handed out.
One way or another, if a citation is issued on a violation then someone will be forced to pay the fine. McLean knows that some landlords will not be happy with how the law on fines currently stands.
“If a tenant is in direct violation in regards to junk autos, then the first person to get the bill will be the landlords,” McLean said. “These landlords then have the option at their own discretion to either foot the bill, find a resolution with their tenants, or have any fines accumulated taken out of their taxes.”
Tebben knows most landlords are aware of the situation and are cooperating with both officials and law members.
“We have a lot of great landlords who are proactive to the situation at hand,” Tebben said. “They want to help us rid the city of these junk autos and we hope to continue working with them in the future.”