Members of the Trenton City Council Administrative Committee Monday evening heard a request for the fire department to stop doing inspections of rental properties and resume with the commercial inspections or surveys.
The committee on a split vote involving a motion will recommend to the city council that more of the residential inspections be handled by the building inspector. While there was discussion of possibly hiring a part-time person to assist the inspector, who also has duties as a code enforcement officer, no action was taken with committee members noting this could be considered during budget preparations and/or at another council meeting. The cost of the initial rental inspection is $35 when occupancy changes. A re-inspection within the year is $10. Councilman Glen Briggs said he feels someone could contract with the city to do the part-time rental inspections and receive a portion of the fee.
A spokesman for the Trenton Fire Department, Doug Franklin, said 200 rental inspections were done last year by on-duty firefighters. He said he and Chief Brandon Gibler would like to have firefighters resume with commercial inspections as doing them, helps the city on it’s ISO rating. While the ISO rating did go down recently, Franklin indicated it could have been reduced some more if they were doing the commercial inspections which typically include the interior layout and inventory.
Since Franklin stated rental inspections take about an hour including paperwork, Councilman Lou Fisher stated the fire department should still have time to do rental inspections and to resume commercial property inspections.
In the only other action item, the administrative committee voted to have an ordinance revised to change the legal minimum age to 21for the purchase of tobacco and vaping products. This is for the city code to comply with a new federal law President Trump signed increasing the age from 18.
City Administrator Ron Urton and City Attorney Tara Walker presented information to the committee regarding the possible formation of a transportation development district or special road district – either of which is said to potentially involve considerable legal expense. The situation came up regarding some of the homeowners who would like to have Serendipity Lane improved in the southeast part of Trenton. Urton reported it was not built to city standards. While no action was taken last evening, Urton said the street supervisor can develop cost estimates on recommended street improvements for presentation to property owners.
A discussion was tabled on a request from Councilman Glen Briggs to increase the city’s allocation for sidewalks on a cost-share basis with property owners. The city now budgets $3,500 per year which is down from the $5,000 appropriated in other years. Briggs called the recent practice installing sidewalks “haphazard” and feels there should be a more coordinated effort involving highly used corridors. An effort, he said, also should be made to explore grants contingent on matching funds from the city which would increase the overall amount of money available.