Landlords oppose rental inspection at city commission meeting

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Brice Ebert, vice president of Alliance Property Management, interrupted the city commission meeting when he casually walked up to commissioner Wynn Butler Tuesday night and slapped down a blank piece of paper on his desk.

Ebert, who was told to act like an adult by commissioner Mike Dodson, made the gesture during the commission’s discussion about a proposed rental inspection program.

The outburst followed an hours-long discussion of the proposal. Local landlords turned out to oppose the rental inspection program, brought about by the efforts of Kansas State students and administrators.

According to Off-Campus Housing Support, 150 complaints were received about housing issues. About 26 percent of those were related to poor maintenance.

Landlords and property managers said they did not see the need for the program.

“There are literally millions of laws out there,” Loren Peppard, real estate broker at G&A Real Estate said. “Manhattan has so many ordinances that no one really knows how to apply an ordinance.”

Peppard said the proposal was brought about by special interest groups, a claim that was questioned by Dodson.

“When you talked about special interests, I have no idea who you’re talking about,” Dodson said. “Who’s the special interest group that’s representing that we’ve got to have a registration ordinance?”

“There are special interest groups out there pushing for this,” Peppard said.

“I have no idea who they are, because I’ve never heard from them,” Dodson said.

The proposed ordinance was not put to a vote and pushed back instead.

City Budget

Commissioners approved the 2017 city budget 4-1, with Butler voting no. The budget calls for a 3 percent increase in stormwater fees to residents and businesses and a 0.9 increase to the mill levy.

Butler said he disapproved of some of the expenditures in the budget, including the purchase of a new stage for the Peace Memorial Auditorium.

“I don’t understand how the stage can be a priority at this point,” Butler said. “We’ve got roads (that need repair) … My personal belief is that I can’t support our budget simply because it’s not focused on the priorities.”

In November, voters will decide on a sales tax increase that is meant to provide road maintenance and repair.

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