Salem woman seeks meeting on run-down rental housing

SALEM — City resident Karen Carter wants a town meeting with Police Chief J.T. Panezott and housing inspector Dan Rice over rental properties, complaining to council about the negative effects from the run-down rental houses.

“We need to act now on this issue and clean up our beloved community from this out of control blight. Our goal should be to return our once lovely neighborhoods back to a family-friendly, safe, free of drugs and crime, place to live,” she said.

Carter addressed city council Wednesday night, clarifying that she wasn’t talking about the good, responsible landlords in the city — she was talking about the slumlords.

“Slumlords are single-handedly changing the image of our town, and we are allowing them,” she said, adding she was disgusted about an alleged meth lab raided earlier this week on West Pershing, on a corner allegedly known for drug activity. “Is this the kind of publicity we want for our town?”

From the housing inspector, she said she would like to know how many rentals there are, the number of landlords, how many landlords live in Salem, how many live out of town, how many rentals actually get inspected each year and how many are not, what kind of followup is done on penalties to landlords and whether landlords are responsible for the run-down exteriors of their rentals.

For the police chief, she said the community needs to know how much time is spent investigating crime and drugs at rentals. She said she asked an officer recently how much crime is related to rentals and was told an estimate of 85 percent or higher.

“That says it all, that should worry every citizen in Salem,” she said.

When it comes to drugs, Carter questioned how a landlord couldn’t be aware of extreme drug activity going on and said there should be consequences to the landlord when police are involved. She said landlords need to take responsibility for who they have as tenants and questioned “where is the due diligence for background checks?”

Carter also said she’s tired of listening to people complain about the rentals and then do nothing about the issue. She said the people who feel the same way she does and all those people who only have negative comments on social media need to get involved by attending a council meeting, calling the mayor, contacting their council representative or specifically contacting Rules & Ordinance Committee Chair Councilwoman Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey.

Carter said she’s not naive enough to think the issue’s going to go away, but a better job could be done.

Council President Tom Baker advised her to followup with Dickey.

In other business, city Treasurer K. Bret Apple made council aware of a recent legislation introduced in the Ohio House known as House Bill 382 which “prohibits municipal corporations from levying an income tax on nonresidents’ compensation for personal services or on net profits from a sole proprietorship owned by a nonresident,” according to a description of the bill.

“This could be a threat to municipal revenue,” Apple said.



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