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Rental permit fees in Oswego raised

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo

The Oswego Common Council approved Mayor Billy Barlow's request to raise the cost of rental permit fees from $30 for a three-year permit to $150 at its meeting Monday. Barlow said the increase, which is the first time the permit prices have been changed since 2005, will equip the city's code enforcement department with the funds they need to crack down on negligent landlords.

"We will continue to expand on our code enforcement department," Barlow said. "We are developing new strategies and new ways to go out and not only enforce the code, but  hold these landlords accountable and make sure they're renting with their rental permits. That takes a lot of time. That takes a lot of energy."

The city is adding a new code enforcer next year. 

Some Oswego property owners have spoken out against the fee hike, saying it would be fairer to increase the penalties landlords have to pay if their property is in violation of the city code. Council President Shawn Walker was also opposed to the plan. He voted against the proposal, having said earlier that the increase was too much all at once. 

The Common Council also passed a resolution to permit the code enforcement to hold hearings where unsafe properties could be ordered to be remedied, vacated or condemned. 

Barlow said the changes are just the beginning of his campaign to crack down on negligent landlords. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.