Last night, the City Council for the City of Florissant passed bill number 9135 which, if approved by voters in April, will increase residential rental real estate license fees. In addition to increasing the rental real estate license fee from $15.00 to $50.00, this ordinance also changes the calculation of the fee from a “per owner” fee to a “per unit” fee. A memorandum from the Pubic Works Department distributed with the bill indicates that, under the current law, there were 1,475 rental licenses issued during 2015 generating a total of $22,125 in fees, and, under the proposed new law, there would be approximately 7,000 licenses issues (one per unit instead of one per owner) and would generate approximately $350,000 in fees, an increase of nearly 1,500 percent (1,482%)!
Subject to A Vote by “Qualified Voters”…
Proponents of this outrageously large fee, which will no doubt lead to increased rents for tenants, may defend the action by saying it is subject to a vote of “the people”. Unfortunately, as the ordinance reads, it will be submitted to the “qualified voters of the city of Florissant” which will most likely, not include the majority of the people impacted by the tax, the landlords. Given that, according to the latest census data, 73.4 percent of the residents of the city of Florissant are homeowners and homeowners will not be negatively impacted in any way by the tax (but will receive benefit in terms of the additional revenue to the city) they have very little reason NOT to approve the tax. In addition to the people affected being the minority of the population (tenants and landlords) the majority of the landlords won’t even have a vote given they don’t live in the city of Florissant.
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Vacant Property Registration Increased Also..
Also last night, the Last night, the City Council for the City of Florissant passed bill 92136 which adds a provision to the city’s existing Vacant Property Code and raises fees. Previously, properties that were vacant for 6 months or more AND had property maintenance code violations, were required to pay a $200 semi-annual registration fee. The new bill changes the code to include ALL property that has been vacant for 6 months, even if they are in 100% in compliance with the Florissant property maintenance code and no nuisances at all exist. Additionally, it adds extra fees depending on how long the property has been vacant.
According to a memo from the Public Works department for the city of Florissant, this bill would “generate approximately $35,000.00 in additional revenue with minimal clerical hours required.”
Sounds like a revenue grab and another way to stick it to landlords.