CLINTON — The Clinton City Council passed two ordinances affecting property maintenance Tuesday, but Mayor Scott Maddasion said he won’t sign them.
Councilman Sean Connell has voted against the ordinances that would make the International Property Maintenance Code part of the City’s building code each time they were read before the council. He voted no again Tuesday.
Though the council approved Ordinance Chapter 155A, Maddasion told the council, “I will not be signing this ordinance.” He repeated the announcement when the council approved an amendment to Chapter 90 regarding the creation of Chapter 155A.
“Anytime a resolution or an ordinance gets passed through the city council, the mayor is the one that signs it,” Maddasion said Wednesday morning. According to Iowa Code, the mayor can sign the ordinance, veto it or take no action.
A veto would require that the council bring the ordinance back in 30 days for another vote. A 2/3 majority would be required for passage. If the mayor takes no action, as Maddasion will do with ordinances regarding 155A and Chapter 90, the ordinance becomes law after 14 days anyway.
“Me choosing not to sign it is just me choosing not to support it at this time,” Maddasion said Wednesday morning. “I just don’t think it’s a necessary piece at this time.”
The changes were proposed in May to keep properties at a minimum standard so they don’t become blight properties. This would reduce the amount of money the city spends on the demolition of blight property, according to a city council report dated May 12 from Fire Chief Joel Atkinson to the mayor and city council.
Connell argued in May that the government doesn’t have a right to tell homeowners what to do inside their own homes and that some homeowners may not be able to afford mandated improvements.
“I’m really all about protecting the buildings, but it’s not a magic pill, and it doesn’t get rid of all the nuisances. It’s a tool, but its not the cure,” Connell said last month.
“I think that we have, in our current code, the tools to abate nuisances,” said Maddasion Wednesday. The International Property Maintenance Code “gives more power to code officials than I think we need to.”
People have submitted to “a lot of government control” throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, Maddasion said, and they don’t need more.
“I don’t feel more code is needed.”
The ordinance changes were presented as a way to keep housing in the city from deteriorating, said Maddasion. “There are some pieces ... that I agree with.”
The amount of authority over property owners that is given to the city in the Code and the fact that single owner/occupiers are included will keep the mayor from signing the ordinances, he said.