Momentum is building in Mount Holly Springs to launch a rental property inspection program as early as April.

The borough council Monday voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution that would charge landlords $65 per rental unit to cover the borough costs of each inspection.

Fees associated with the inspection program were rolled into a general resolution that set all the fees for borough services for 2018. This includes such things as building permits and park pavilion rentals.

Under the resolution, a $50 fee will be charged if a property that failed an initial inspection needs an extensive re-inspection, said Tom Day, borough manager and police chief.

Also, the borough will charge a $50 fee if a landlord wants to appeal the results of an inspection such as the denial of a license to allow the rental of the property.

Council member Edgar Kendall cast the only vote against the resolution. He said he wanted to be consistent with his prior opposition to the borough ordinance that established the inspection program.

In related news, Troy Russell was sworn in Monday by Mayor P. Scott Boise as the borough’s part-time zoning and codes enforcement officer. Russell will receive no benefits and will be paid $18 an hour for a weekly maximum not to exceed 32 hours, Day said.

A large part of Russell’s job will be the inspection of all rental properties within the first of three zones Day mapped out as part of the inspection program ordinance.

Zone 1 inspections will cover units on either side of Baltimore Avenue from the borough line south to Butler Street. This zone would also include all streets between the western border of the borough and Mountain Creek.

Zone 1 also includes any units along Mill Street from where it intersects with Baltimore north and east to the borough line and on streets adjoining Mill including Fairfield, Center, East, South, Peach and Orange.

Under the ordinance, a landlord would only be able to rent a unit if it passes inspection and is issued an occupancy license. The $65 per unit fee is what the borough calculated would be needed to cover the overhead of each inspection, Day said. He said Mount Holly will be at the low end of what local municipalities charge for rental property inspections. Some communities charge $85 to $100, he said.

“It’s what we believe to be the fee,” Day said. “That is why it was done by resolution. Council could adjust the fee up or down.” He said an adjustment doesn’t have to wait until the start of the calendar year.

Landlady Cathy Nell is a new member of borough council. She asked if the borough was going to charge the $50 re-inspection fee each time there’s a simple fix such as a battery missing from a smoke detector.

To give the inspection program ordinance “teeth,” borough council in December adopted the International Property Maintenance Code, which details standards for rental units.

A draft inspection checklist presented in August included items related to security, fire safety, adequate lighting, adequate ventilation, a check for chipped or peeling paint and a check for rodent infestation.

Under the ordinance, each item will be marked either pass or fail with directions given in the comment section of the checklist on what needs to be done to correct the deficiencies.

Day said, Troy Russell will decide whether a landlord should be charged the $50 re-inspection fee or whether the fee should be waived for a quick review of minor deficiencies.

On Jan. 2, borough council decided to hire an in-house person to conduct the rental property inspections rather than out-source the inspections to a third-party contractor.

By going with an in-house person, the borough is cutting out a middleman that may try to rack up as much money in fees as possible, Day said. He said an in-house person would be more likely to exercise discretion and only apply the $50 re-inspection fee to situations involving major deficiencies instead of to every case.

Posted earlier on Cumberlink:

Mount Holly Springs Borough Council Monday set the fees for a rental property inspection program that could be underway as early as April.

Council voted 6-1 in favor of a resolution that would charge landlords $65 per rental unit to cover the borough costs of each inspection.

A $50 fee will be charged if a property that failed an initial inspection needs an extensive re-inspection, said Tom Day, borough manager and police chief.

Lastly, the borough will charge a $50 fee if a landlord wants to appeal the results of an inspection such as the denial of a permit to allow the rental of the property.

The fees associated with the inspection program were rolled into a general resolution that set all the fees for borough services for 2018. This includes such things as building permits and park pavilion rentals.

Council member Edgar Kendall cast the only vote against the resolution. When asked, he said he wanted to be consistent with his prior opposition to the borough ordinance that established the inspection program.

In related news, Troy Russell was sworn in Monday by Mayor P. Scott Boise as the borough’s zoning and codes enforcement officer. Russell will be paid $18 an hour for a maximum of 32 hours a week, Day said.

A large part of Russell’s job would be the inspection of rental properties within the first of three zones Day mapped out as part of the inspection program ordinance.

Council Monday also authorized Day to purchase a new Ford Explorer police vehicle to replace an aging Crown Victoria cruiser that is costing the borough thousands of dollars in repair bills every year.

Estimated at around $47,000, the new vehicle will be acquired through the state cooperative purchasing program. The borough will pay for the SUV using about $13,000 drawn from reserves and $34,000 in the general fund budget.

Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.