Antonen said Centerville is trying to follow the Ottumwa model.
Any additional money raised could go toward a second employee in the building department, Antonen said.
“That’ll allow my office to become proactive instead of reactive,” Johnson said about the proposed permit fee increase. “And right now I’m just driving around and putting out fires when they get called in.”
Councilman Jay Dillard said the city’s rental permit fee has been in place since 1961.
Antonen said he predicts more discussion on the topic and it would be up to the council to make a decision at its budget hearing. If the council makes a change it would require a change in city code, he said.
Johnson also brought up the idea the city should start charging for building inspections.
“I think the landlords, the property owners should be the ones that are actually paying for those inspections,” Johnson said, because right now it’s the residents who are covering that cost.
Councilman Ron Creagan questioned the added burden it would place on landlords and their renters. He said it should be looked at carefully before it’s adopted.
“Because I don’t want to put a hardship on a lot of landlords around here,” Creagan said, expecting landlords to raise their rent to cover the additional cost is not an easy thing to do. “I wouldn’t want to do it to my tenants.”
Johnson said rental properties exert a burden on several city departments and as such they need to help pay for those services.
“I think we need to just look at them and maybe a surcharge or whatever we can on them and you can call that inspection fee a surcharge,” Johnson said. “Because you know you’re going to have to do things to try to correct some of those problems.”