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City Council discusses housing issues

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington City Council discussed public nuisance issues and possible rental housing ordinance amendments during a special Wednesday morning meeting.

"We're seeing if there are things that we can do to tweak out the ordinance to make some changes," said Mike Cumiskey, Worthington's director of public safety.

Concerning public nuisance, one core change would be to speed up ticketing process once the elements of crime or nuisance have been established.

According to Cumiskey, the department is hopeful for an ordinance change that will allow officers to review and issue a citation, as opposed to having the issue reviewed first by the county attorney.

"It already establishes a place in the line," Cumiskey said.

There are currently 1,253 registered rental properties in Worthington. "About 71 percent have reached the point of compliance," said Brad Chapulis, Worthington Director of Community/Economic Development.

A third of the non-complying landlords are the "basic culprits," said Chapulis, who expressed his frustration in trying to "chase" around the managements/landlords to register their properties.

"We complain about the ordinance not working (but) we need to have the courage to issue a citation," said Alderman Ron Wood in response. "I think the city could be culpable because we have not fulfilled our obligation and we have a record of it."

Mayor Alan Oberloh urged for a renewed focus on the few landlords that have been evading registration.

"Just spend your next year beating on them," Oberloh said.

"I'd like to issue a thank you to the people that have registered, complied and who are good landlords, who have made improvements to the properties, we're very much appreciative," said Alderman Lyle Ten Haken at the meeting's conclusion.