Weirton rental program finalized

WEIRTON — Weirton Council Monday took the final step in implementing a new rental registration program throughout the city.

The ordinance enacting the rental registration program was approved on second reading 4-2, with Councilmembers Tim Connell, George Ash, Flora Perrone and Enzo Fracasso in favor, and Mike Adams and Terry Weigel against.

Ordinances to establish a residential rental license fee and a commercial rental license fee were approved 4-2, with Perrone and Weigel voting against.

“I find it very, very ironic we are here stomping on the rights of renters only a few days after Independence Day,” Weigel said.

Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh recused himself from votes on all three pieces of legislation, citing advice from City Attorney Vince Gurrera on possible ethics conflicts.

“I do business with these people,” Marsh said prior to stepping out of the council chambers.

As part of the ordinance enacting the rental registration program, there is a six-month voluntary registration period, which will end in January. After the Jan. 1 deadline, there is a $20 fee assessed as part of the rental registration, which is effective for a three-year period.

The licensing fees are both $15 per rental operation, to be paid each calendar year.

During the citizens comments portion of the council meeting, council was addressed by residents John Barone and Jeremy Bischof, who have been among those speaking against the ordinances.

“It’s an invasion of someone’s privacy,” Barone said, noting he believes the ordinance is unconstitutional. “You can’t just go into someone’s home.”

Gurrera offered to schedule a time to sit down with Barone and review the ordinance and procedures with him.

Bischof, too, warned against the invasion of privacy of the rental inspections.

“All the reports generated from this will be public record,” Bischof said.

Bischof also told council of an ordinance in Portsmouth, Ohio, which he said had been overturned in federal court, and was still the subject of civil cases.

In other business, ordinances establishing a new 212 hour/28 day work rotation for the Weirton Fire Department and the creation of a new public safety director remained tabled, on Gurrera’s advice.

Council also approved:

¯ The second reading of an ordinance establishing new salaries for employees in the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 84

¯ The first reading of an ordinance placing of a yellow curb on the north side of Oak Street from the corner of Mercer Street to the wall at 137 Oak St.

¯ The first reading of an ordinance establishing 45 feet of no parking beginning at a point 493 feet from the intersection of Potomac Avenue on the north side of Morningside Court, and again at a point of 37 feet, for a distance of 66 feet on the north side of Morningside Court, and placing no parking signs at each end.

¯ The first reading of an ordinance placing a stop sign 5 feet north of 1272 Elmhurst on the east side of Palisades and a sign 40 feet east of the 3877 Palisades on the north side of Beaumont

¯ The first reading of an ordinance for new salaries for members of the Weirton Municipal Employees Union

¯ The first reading of an ordinance for the creation of a deputy police chief

¯ A resolution to purchase protective fire gear at a cost of $4,089.35

¯ A resolution to place liens of $11,125.25 at 3221 Elm St. for demolition costs

¯ A resolution for the B-19 Community Development Block Grant of $412,648

¯ A resolution for support service with AccuFund Inc. for $8,995.25

¯ A resolution for GASB 34 accounting services with Kozicki, Hughes & Tickerhoof, at $30,000

¯ A resolution to renew a contract with ACCELA for support on the city’s customer interaction website at $5,992

¯ Resolutions with NLS Paving Inc for milling and paving of city streets using $969,424.50 from the general fund and $213,679.75 for CDBG-eligible streets

¯ A contract with H.E. Neumann for a new variable air volume system for the Weirton Municipal Building, at $174,469

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