“Our staff strongly believes they need this help to be equitable so that all properties in town are secured in the same way,” said Yellow Springs councilwoman Lori Askeland.
Monday’s hearing is the latest move by the village to collect overdue utility payments. In August, the council approved legislation that gave the village the ability to collect $7,268.46 in unpaid utility bills from four homeowners whose bills date back to 2006 by adding the overdue amount to their tax bills.
Council has been discussing the potential new legislation for more than three months. During this time, several landlords have publicly opposed the potential law, stating the measure could negatively impact them by deterring future renters and cause increases in rents and deposits.
Councilman Brian Housh said the proposed utility-related law was triggered by the village’s “budget crisis” — the municipality is in its second year of deficit spending.
Housh said not implementing the legislation would unfairly impact other residents.
“By doing nothing about this, that ultimately means that’s a loss that every taxpayer carries,” he said. “Since it is a municipally run utility, if we lose $15,000, that comes from taxpayer money. It’s not like a private business.”