News That Matters To Antelope County - Your News. Your Way. Every Day!
© Pitzer Digital, LLC
The Neligh City Council once again heard talks on the topic of who should be responsible for utilities of rentals.
During Monday night's meeting, the council again discussed whether the landlord or the tenant should foot the bill of utilities. By the end of the meeting, a decision was made to set a policy in place before next month's meeting to make it the tenant's responsibility.
After last month's meeting in which an issue was discussed regarding a tenant of Don Zegers' moving out without paying their utility bill, the council stated they wanted a policy in place.
The council heard from Zegers and Steve Kuester on the issue. The two expressed their concern with landlords being stuck with the bill in the case of a tenant skipping out on a bill. A main point of concern was a tenant leaving the landlord with the bill after moving out and a deposit not being enough to cover the debt.
According to state statute, if there is an outstanding bill, a lien is placed against the property that must be paid off before utilities can be turned on again.
"It all comes down to personal responsibility," Kuester said. "We all got them, we all uphold it. There's a few that don't."
One point of contention among the council members was whether it was right to put in place a policy for just a few people.
"We talked about how much has this happened in the last two years and what was it, a couple? So we are talking about changing a whole system that's working real good for just four people," said Mayor Joe Hartz.
After further discussion, including input from Economic Development Director Gabriel Steinmeyer, a solution was then proposed by Ted Hughes.
"I would make a motion that we not charge the landlord and we look at it in a year. If our non-collectibles comes up, then we'll have to address it again next year. The policy we've been following has lowered our non-collectibles," Hughes said. "I wouldn't have a problem lifting the burden from the landlords and then looking at it in a year if that write-off amount starts to come up."
The motion to alleviate the burden from the landlords was seconded by Stephanie Wanek.
However, a decision was then made to, instead, hold off until next month to allow City Attorney Jim McNally to write a policy stating such.