With 2,700 rental housing units in the city of Brainerd and a year-old ordinance that states all units will be inspected, the city of Brainerd is looking at outside agencies to conduct inspections.
Thursday, the Brainerd Personnel and Finance Committee interviewed two prospective rental housing inspectors.
In its request for proposals, the city of Brainerd stated 300 inspections must be completed each year. The services an inspector must provide included scheduling inspections and using the housing maintenance code and federal Housing Quality Standards in conducting inspections.
The decision to seek proposals from outside inspections firms was made at the city council's Oct. 20 meeting.
"Our staff is so busy. This position, I feel, has to be self-sustaining, self-supporting," said city council member Bob Olson.
The first to be interviewed was Bill Kronstedt of Krondo Inspection Services in Brainerd. Kronstedt offered to conduct inspections at a rate of $170 for a duplex or duplex-sized house and $75 per additional unit, such as in a tri-plex or four-plex. In a counter proposal, Kronstedt also offered to conduct inspections at a reasonable hourly rate, but listed no dollar amount. Kronstedt told the committee he generally would spend three to four hours inspecting each unit.
The second group to be interviewed was the non-profit Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council, represented by housing inspector Sandy Metzdorff and housing director Larry Barber. Metzdorff and Barber offered to conduct inspections at $30 per rental unit. Subsequent inspections of units would be billed to the city at $15 per inspection. There also would be a fee of $20 per hour for meetings the inspector would have to attend outside of regular business hours.
Metzdorff said it generally takes about an hour to an hour and a half to inspect a unit.
Both groups said they would work with the Brainerd Police Department's crime prevention specialist and nuisance inspectors. Both also said they'd implement in their inspection duties the rental housing database the city created.
In July of 2002, the city council amended its housing maintenance codes to include registration of all rental units, inspections by building inspectors, as well as trained firefighters, authorization of building inspectors to issue petty misdemeanor citations and implementation of a crime-free multi-housing strategy. There also now is a point of sale inspection for all housing. The annual inspection fee was set at $12 per rental unit. Failure to register a rental unit is a $25 fine.
No decision was made Thursday. The proposals will be considered at Monday's Personnel and Finance Committee meeting and, if the committee has a recommendation, by the city council. City staffers present at the meeting were asked to bring their recommendations to Monday's committee meeting.
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