Councilman has concerns with ordinance

At least one city councilman has reservations about Mayor Gabriel J. Campana’s attempt to add landlord/tenant regulations to the city nuisance ordinance in September.

Councilman Don Noviello, who sits on the city’s public safety committee, said Tuesday he won’t vote for the proposed regulations if it is proven the city can’t protect the personal information being requested of landlords and their tenants and it subject to the state’s Right-to-Know law.

“I can support it until it is found that private information can be accessible,” Noviello said, adding that he expected the proposed ordinance, if passed into an ordinance, to be challenged in the courts. “Then, I believe I would have to back out.”

Noviello said while he appreciated the work done by city Police Capt. Timothy Miller on preparing the proposed ordinance, his constituents have told him they are concerned about information being available to the public.

Campana, meanwhile, said the ordinance would require certain residential property owners, landlords and their tenants to provide the city codes office a proof of their occupancy, with a name, address and identification going along with it.

The proposed ordinance would not apply to off-campus housing of college students, hotels and motels or private homes.

Information required includes, but is not limited to, names and addresses of current tenants and the number of occupants.

“I’m not going to bring anything if I have an inkling of exposure that will put the city at risk,” Campana said.

Campana said the proposed ordinance is under review by city assistant solicitor J. David Smith and several thorny issues – such as whether it is subject to right to know and open records – will be discussed.

Looking back to Monday’s town meeting, Campana said he heard overwhelming support from those at the Cochran school playground.

“Do what you have to do to put slumlords out of business,” Campana said he was told.

Campana claims the law can prevent more drug houses from opening and close those in operation.

However, a similar ordinance in effect in Berwick for three years has not reduced that community’s crime, according to a uniformed crime report by the FBI.