Council approves rental housing policy

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont City Council on Monday took further steps to put the city’s rental housing policy into place. The council has been working on the policy over the course of the past few months.

City Administrator Cathy Reynolds said city staff has been working to prepare everything before the rental housing ordinance goes into place on Feb. 1. She said that when council adopted the rental housing code, it had requested that staff develop a policy to provide further information on the process for inspections and to provide the landlords one right of refusal of an inspector.

She said that staff did come up with a policy that gives guidance on inspections and states it will be done by city staff or contractors hired by staff and will be assigned on a rotation, though landlords have one right of refusal.

The council approved to adopt the policy.

To go along with the policy, rental housing registration and inspection fees was also discussed.

“The goal was that this was a pass-through. We charge the property owner, the landlord, for the fee and then we turn around and are paying the contractor those fees so the city is not making money on these rental inspections nor are we losing money,” Reynolds said.

She said they did a request for qualifications and had two responses. A joint meeting was held with those who responded, as well as the building official. Reynolds said a lengthy discussion was held and fee amounts were set.

The council unanimously approved to set the fees.

On that same note, the council approved contracts with the two interested parties, Lily Creek Home Inspections, LLC and Four Diamonds Home Inspections for rental housing inspection services.

Council member Randy Lubenow asked if the city was still looking for more rental housing inspectors. Reynolds said her original goal was three to five inspectors so she would be open to having more.

Moving to other matters, the council also discussed building official contract services. Reynolds said that the individual they had doing inspections on a part-time basis took a full time job with another city and is no longer available.

“I reached out to Terry Tonneson, our retired building official, and he agreed to come back and do some part-time work under contract as supplemental building official services to fill in the gap,” Reynolds said.

The council approved the contract with Tonneson 4-1 with council member Michele Miller voting no.

On Monday the council also considers an owner’s representative contract for the proposed community center. The council first discussed the matter at the Nov. 22 city council meeting.

“At that time, council decided and voted to negotiate directly with Tegra for owner representative services and directed staff to move forward with those negations,” Reynolds said.

She said she’s held several conversations with Tegra and they’ve come up with a recommendation for a two-step contract. Step one is to work with the design team and develop a schedule and budget.

“They offered to do step one at a cost of $90,000 which would be billed at $15,000 per month for six months,” Reynolds said.

Step two would be from the conceptual design to the final design and the construction of the community center. Step two would require council approval to move froward. The fees for that would be 2 percent of the guaranteed maximum price.

Reynolds said the contract has been ran by the city attorney and also with the community center advisory board and that staff recommends approval of the contract.

The council approved the contract 4-1 with council member Wayne Hasek voting no


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