The Centerville City Council at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10 at City Hall held a special meeting followed by a working session.
During the special meeting the council voted 5-0 to approve the second reading of an ordinance to establish an electric and a gas franchise fee agreement with Interstate Power and Light, parent company of Alliant Energy.
Next was a working session to discuss the rental permit fee structure first enacted in 1995.
Unlike the first working session to discuss rental permit fees held on Wednesday, April 2 where only three landlords showed up, Thursday’s session had 22 in attendence and the majority of those who decided to speak were against increasing the fee.
Reasons given against increasing the fee ranged from it would force me to sell my rental units and I would have to get out of the business to it would unduly burden my renters after I pass the additional cost on to them.
A man named Wyatt said the city will have a problem and see big changes if it keeps adding costs to rental properties which will in turn drive up rental rents.
“You’ll see landlords, they’ll cut back maybe on fixing up that property. Maybe more dilapidated properties then you’ve got now or they’ll give up,” he said. “So, that is a concern.”
“Raising the fee would be a punishment,” Keisha McFarland, who administers HUD municipal low-income housing in Centerville, said, adding, she’s looking at a $2,500 bill if the city raises the fee to $25 per unit per year.
McFarland and another woman both said raising the fee from every two years to every unit every year seemed a bit too much.
“There has to be some middle ground, somewhere,” McFarland said. “I know we need to have something. But I don’t know if this just charging the landlords is the answer.”