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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Goshen City Council to mull rental fees and redistricting

Long-discussed issues could be concluded.

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on March 18, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.

GOSHEN — Two long-standing issues may finally be resolved at the Tuesday, March 19, Goshen City Council meeting.

The council will try to conclude the discussion on the highly contested building department fee ordinance that would increase the rental property registration fee.

The amendment to the ordinance would raise the biennial fee from $30 to $40.

The topic was raised at two previous meetings with no action taken due to the council’s questions about the number of rental units, costs of the building department and revenues from the rental registration program.

Council president Jim McKee, who has voiced his opposition to the increased fee, believes the passage of the amendment would come too soon after the city raised rates from $25 to $30 several months ago.

On the other hand, Mayor Allan Kauffman has said even a $40 fee would be far less expensive than many cities throughout the state that have rental registration programs.

Kauffman has also stated that since rental registration programs are now required to have a separate fund, the city has found the amount it is currently collecting from rental registration won’t cover the program’s cost. He said the city would then have to supplement the registration revenues with property tax revenue, but he doesn’t think general property taxes should have to help pay for the rental program.

A second topic the council may finally lay to rest is redistricting.

Since being first introduced in December, three alternatives have been offered, which the council will review Tuesday along with the original redistricting plan.

The first alternative, submitted at the Jan. 15 meeting, splits Elkhart Township precincts 12 and 13 for a total population deviation of 14.8 percent.

The second alternative splits Elkhart Township precincts 1, 8, 11, and 14 for a deviation of 2.52 percent.

The final alternative the council will consider splits Elkhart Township precincts 5, 8, 11, 14 and 17 for a deviation of 1.7 percent.

Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the police and courts building, 111 E. Jefferson St.

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